Plot balance: Building vs. Writing


It seems to me that there is a bit of a balance difference with the gaining of plots through writing vs. building. Nations such as myself, Connemara, Ebongrasp and Kaldaross that tend to invest much more time into building than writing end up at a huge plot deficet compared to those who build very little and write a lot. Obviously, the ideal is for players to do both in roughly equal quantities, but as many people prefer one to the other there should not be this huge difference in rewards between building and writing.

I personally have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours building, both on the server and in singleplayer for transfer to the server. My total plots from this: 1

I’ve done a decent amount of writing, nowhere near as much as some people but probably around 10,000 words total, and a few tens of hours. I’m not sure my exact plots from this, but I think it’s somewhere 10-15.

Already, this is showing the vast disparity between rewards from writing and from building, as I’ve spent 5-10 times as long building as writing and have got a small fraction of the rewards from that as my writing.

The problem only gets worse when you look at people who have the opposite approach to me. This is not having a go at anyone, some people prefer writing to building and that is completely fine. Geo, for instance, has built a decent amount of buildings ranging from very simple to decent. Plot earned: 0. I obviously have no way of knowing for sure, but I’d estimate he’s spent a similar amount of time and effort doing this as I have writing. This illustrates again the disparity.

And then we have his writing. He spends a lot of time and effort writing, probably a bit more than I do building and on a similar level to Kaldaross and Ebongrasp’s building. However, he earns a ridiculous amount of plots from this (I’d probably guess around 50 so far), which is far in excess what anybody (and potentially challenging all combined) has earned from building (at least under the new system, heavy urban areas such as Roklavia were successful at getting lots of plots under the old system).

This shows the huge divide between the usefulness of writing and that of building to get plots. He has probably written a bit more than I’ve built, but there’s no way he’s done like 50 times as much. There is a potential arguement made that it doesn’t really benefit people who don’t like building to get more plots, but that seems beside the point and it certainly does impact people who do want to build but don’t get anywhere near as many plots.

Something that has exacerbated this issue is the new scoring and rewarding system for plots. The old system classified a plot as ‘urban’ if it had roughly 50% coverage of pretty much any quality. This meant that, while you still needed to do a large amount of building and detailing was less important than coverage, it was possible to do this on enough plots to get at least a few (still nowhere near like what you can get from writing).

However, the new system classifies plots on a scale from 1-5, with 1s being plots with minor development, 2s being plots with major development but (according to Siil’s recent post) lacking in immersion or plots with less but more immersion. 3s are for major development + immersion and 4s are for major builds that are high quality, highly immersive and a good scale. 5s are the best of the best and (to my knowledge) none have yet been given out.
This is a good system and encourages putting more thought into details and interior (although I feel the range for a 2 is huge, from a pretty basic urban area or a small section of a bigger, more detailed build to a decently detailed area with lots of houses, all unique and comprising interior but apparently lacking immersive quality. However, that’s a different discussion and not the point of this post.), except for the way plots are awarded. A level 4 plot earns 1 and level 5 earns 2 on top of that.
This is requiring a huge amount of effort to get even 1 plot from building. I have only 1 level 4 plot, which my entire central stronghold + the centrepoint of my undercity, easily over 30 hours work. Some people, such as Geo, have none.

As a result, a huge amount of effort can be put into building without gaining a single plot. Conversely, a short episode (as long as it has a point as isn’t made purely for plots) can easily earn the writers as much as a very large build, while an episode with similar time and effort to a level 4 plot can earn far more. Writing can be done extremely quickly to a high quality, as well, whereas the physical requirements of building make is slower by nature:

Say I have 1 hour. In that time, I could easily write a thousand words of an episode if I have a clear idea of what I want to achieve in it. If I was building, however, it would take me that long to mark the outline of a house and dig out the foundations (less if you have w/e). In the time it takes me to fully build a large house (5-10 hours) I could write several thousand words, even accounting for discussion and reply times.
Then, I have one house. On one of my plots, I have 5-10 large houses, 10-15 medium houses and about 5 small houses, for a total score of 2. Not even close to earning a single plot. A comparable amount of time’s worth of writing could easily get me several, possibly 5-10 plots.

If anyone disagrees with me that there is a vast difference between the effort compared to the rewards of writing vs building, I am very curious because I can’t tell at all how you could be right. One short episode is worth the ENTIRETY of my building work in terms of plots.

True, writing cannot currently earn power points. However, as demonstrated by Geo’s war against TNA despite the huge power difference (if that applied directly to military force he would have been squashed), the power score has very little bearing on actual RP. Also, there has just been a movement to make empty plots count for something to let people who write get more power that way. NO NO NO! With things as they currently stand, it’s virtually impossible to get any number of plots from building. We do not need to skew things further in favour of those who prefer to write. Fix this problem first, then have a look at writing not contributing to apparently meaningless power.

Some people might try to make the case that writing should be worth more than plots. I have several things to say to that.

Firstly (I’m listing potential arguments rather than trying to strawman because I haven’t heard any yet), if people argue that the whole point of the server is RP then actually doing that should be worth more, I completely disagree. If you want to play somewhere where writing is the be-all and end-all, find somewhere like that. This is a Minecraft focused server where the builds contribute to RP and vice versa. Both, therefore, should be equally favoured by the system, possibly with a bonus to doing a good amount of both.

Secondly, if people argue that buffing building rewards might encourage people to spam low effort builds (as the original system did), I would like to point out that there is very little quality control with regards to the writing. Bad grammar and clunky writing are seen as secondary to the plot (as they should be, as this is for fun and story rather than professional writing). Writing of higher quality (which is entirely subjective - how do you even begin to make an objective system built around that?) isn’t worth any more than a similar amount of lower-quality that doesn’t impact the enjoyment of reading it. I’m not at all arguing that it should, that’s a terrible idea.
However, with building there is a quality wall. There should be, of course, as building is visual and writing is not, so mediocre building is much worse than mediocre writing which still gets the point across (just to be clear, I’m not calling anyone’s writing mediocre and tbh I don’t keep up enough to know people’s styles and skills, just saying that in the event that we do get mediocre writing). I would sum up this difference in that the staff (who do the assessment) are all highly skilled builders with many years of experience, and compare the builds they see to the best of their own work and the world’s at large. Conversely, they do not judge writing as a highly skilled (amateur or professional) writer/novelist, they read it for the plot (the ideas) and, to be honest, the quantity is a bit factor too, rather than the execution, whereas the execution is more important than the ideas in building.
Therefore, completely aside from people taking pride in their work and not doing low effort stuff, I do not think the possible that lower-quality builing with decent effort and ideas (let’s face it, not everyone can build like Music, Kaldaross, Ebon or the staff. I struggle through with simpler designs and try (and apparently fail) to make then interesting in other ways) earning plots will be an issue.

That’s my case as it currently stands. There is a huge difference between what you can get from building and what you can get from writing. I say that this is a serious issue and quite demoralising for those who prefer to build and will defend my position against anyone who disagrees.

I don’t know how to fix the problem, and the staff and other people who are much smarter and better at balancing about it can hopefully come up with something that works.

I do have one possible suggestion though. Not necessarily as I present it, but the general idea could be a part of how we approach a solution, and that is to buff buildings.

Potentially (scores are cumulative as with the current 5)
1: 0
2: 1
3: 2
4: 3
5: 5-10 (Sounds a lot, but I would tend to suggest that a score not currently achieved by anyone should possible be worth a lot, a large episode earns quite a few and is evidently less hard than level 5)

This would make a total of:

1: 0
2: 1
3: 3
4: 6
5: 11+

Again, this sounds a lot, but, as evidenced by 2 people getting over 20 plots from writing this turn, it’s more than possible to get a lot from writing, and also possible to maintain at that level, whereas a level 5 would be very rare and the pinnacle of a city or whatever.

If people are concered about balance, my level 4 plot with well over 30 hours of work would be worth 6, about one for every 5 hours. 5 hours is way more than you’d need for a decent 1-plot episode, if you don’t include wait times between replies (which you shouldn’t, as you’re not working on it then, any more than you are working on a build when MC is off).

I have a level 2 plot with somewhere between 30-50 hours of work (lots and lots of houses takes ages but isn’t as dramatic as a big castle and huge firery chamber) and a level 1 plot with probably about 15 (planting wheat by hand is slow af but not worth much), which would combined still only earn 1 with my suggestion, demonstrating that you still have to be smart and good quality to get any decent amount.

So I would say that this is decently balanced.

Thoughts, @staff and @roleplay?

Ok, I’ve been criticised a lot by people saying I’m not a great builder etc etc. I make no claim to be. However, across the server, 7 plots have been earned from building. Geo got over 3 times that just last turn from writing. This is not a balanced system.


I have several thoughts on this.

I agree that building is currently outmatched by the ability to write, if done correctly. Roklavia was a high level of building, and as a result achieved 18 plots right off the bat. At the time, there were fewer episodes being played out, so nobody else came close.

Now however, the RP community is split. Not many people now build on the server in general, and outside of a small circle almost nobody is RPing. A few dedicated builders continue to work, grinding away when they have time. And a group of dedicated writers is currently going through a diplomatic hangar which has brought about a greatly increased RP activness.

And for the comparison between the speed of writing episodes and building houses, I disagree. Yes, I myself have closed episodes in 2 days, but the resulting work was short and did not produce many plots. Ara and I have both done episodes that have taken over a month to complete, one in particular having thousands and thousands of words in it. That work was rewarded with a large amount of plots. It’s a matter of time put in. Yes, it make take 12 hours to build the perfect house, but building skill is judgable. I personally lay claim to the worst builder in the RP server. Have I spent a large amount of time building? Yes. Did I get rewarded? Not really. But I spent way more time writing, and a rest deal of writing, and was rewarded. In conclusion, I am satisfied with the balance between building and writing. If anyone brings up the argument that that is “only because you are winning”, I’ll ask why nobody complained when Music built a gigantic amount of towers and got rewarded, or Dk built a titanic amount of houses.

I am in favor of plots giving one power point each, regardless of builds. But I would suggest ramping up the number of points and plots gained from lvl 2 and 3 plots. This would allow both faster expansion, and keep the builders happy.
A side note: If the North was so much stronger than Valkoria, why did only Kleriel fight back or move it’s army to defend? Danheim day in its city and waited. First prove you’re will actually fight in a war, before you say you outmatch someone. Pm me if you want to argue :stuck_out_tongue:

If ‘skewing the points system in favor of people who prefer to write’ is your argument, I also strongly let disagree. Those who prefer to write typically spend a decent amount of time on the server, and should not be penalized for you know, goinng out and RPing with the points they have earned. Punishing anyone for being active is not fair at all. If you prefer to build, well and good. If you prefer to write, let me know :slight_smile:.

Giving out 11 plots for a 5 point plot seems fine. But don’t justify it by essentially being upset at the RPers. It’s not easy to do enough writing to get 20+ plots.

In short, I agree with you saying building needs a buff, but if since building dies take awhile, few people are going to be building 20+ plots worth of houses. I disagree on the “points for empty plots”, that should be implemented. Telling people to leave the community they have grown fond of and love to go start over in a pure writing environment is not nice. That’s a way of saying “get lost, this is Minecraft!”

I know I’ve rambled on a good bit, but that’s my response.

One last thing: before this last turn, while having been very active in RP, Ara and I still had only gotten about 8 plots per turn or so. This showed that those episodes that earned us 25 plots are several months old.


I’m not saying punish anyone for anything. I agree with the allocation of plots to the writing system. I’m saying that there’s not enough for building, not that there’s too many for writing.

I appreciate the amount of work people put into their lore. That is fairly rewarded, while an equal amount of work building is not. I suggested buffing the rewards from building, not removing the rewards from writing.

Your point about Roklavia is sort of valid, but a. that included the bonus for the upgrade, which is a bunch more, and it was under the old system where it was a lot easier to get plots from building (you got a bunch for your stone floor and square boxes that would get a 1 on the new one).

Regarding the North power thing, I’m not saying we’re so much more powerful in RP. I’m saying we have 4, 5, 6 times as many power points as you do, and yet you’re an equal or better in RP, so they clearly do not have a significant impact.


Jesus Christ that’s a lot to read…


Okay, ive read through the majority of Aen’s text…

Lemme clear something up for you sunshine, in case staff doesn’t want to go out pointing fingers at people:

Building requires skill. There are a very few people on this server who posses legit building skill. I do not count myself among them. And you aren’t one of them either.

Staff will not count how much time you spend fiddling with one build, they will judge how good the end product is. If you’ve spent hundreds of hours building some building that looks trash, its still trash. Life’s tough, ik.

Saying you build a ‘‘large house’’ in 10 to 15 hours also makes you slow. Having only 1 or 2 hours to play minecraft a day makes your progress even slower. Now, that might not necessarily be your fault, but its not ours either. No handicaps please.

Much effort, yes.

If you want good rewards, build good. Or is it staff just being biased that Music has half the plots you do, and he nearly just started his faction anew, and has only written like 2 episodes? Sure, he has more time to build than you, but that’s not his fault, is it?


Also, how has this only become an issue after last month’s episode spam and we all recieved our plots? Hm?
Does somebody feel left out?
It was never an issue before.


Okay. To begin with, the case you outline is clear: building is underrewarded compared to writing where earning plots is concerned. In this case, I will ask you: why do you want more plots? Is it because you repeatedly run out of room? If not, then I fail to see how it is underrewarded - even without the added plots from writing, I have not lacked for room so far.

The other issue you are addressing is that of the power ratings. This, however, is a different problem altogether - if I understand you correctly, and if you do not want more plots because of the building space (please verify), then your problem is actually with the power ratings rather than the plots themselves, and particularly with the proposal to value empty plots as 1 power point. In that case, would the solution not be to - rather than give the builders more plots, given they don’t lack for room anyways - increase the power points rewarded for higher-quality plots? How do you feel about this?

As for your point about the quality of writing and of articles - I agree with you, and I’d like to hear Siil’s thoughts on potentially distinguishing and further rewarding higher-quality episodes and lore. Also because I’ll be so vain as to assume it will benefit me personally, of course.


I don’t think getting plots for building is underrated. Just look at Danheim, or Ebongrasp. And Lasenor isn’t small either, it has a pretty 40 plots or something, while Kleriel nearly has 60. And i could argue that i had both built and written twice as much as you. Have i been cheated? In the old system where all you had to do was fill up 50% of your plot, yes, i would have been cheated because my city is densely packed but would be worth the same as one of your spaced-out town plots. Is that fair? Quality is being rated, not how much you’ve built, or how long it took you to build it.


Ara. This is the list of all nations’ plots for building as of now.

Lásenor: 1
Danheim: 0
Maruba: 0
Kleriel: 0
Valkora: 0
Roklavia: 2
Ebongrasp: 1
Ax-com: 1
Kaldaross: 2

Everybody else hasn’t been surveyed under the new system. Are you seriously going to argue these numbers are a working system? I’ve got more plots that you and DK because I have one plot that’s heavily developed, whereas you two have many at 3.

This system is broken. 7 plots IN TOTAL from building! Across everyone!

Geo earned 3 times that number from writing LAST MONTH!


Coming off from the discussion we just had on discord:

Lvl 3 plots should reward plots too. Only lvl 4 and 5 plots rewarding plots is tough, since a lvl 5 is practically unattainable, meaning staff is saying ‘‘build at least 2nd to perfect, or you don’t get plots’’.


That was my suggestion at the bottom. Make 2s give 1 plot, because that is still a decent amount of work, 3s two more on top of that, because that is a big, quality build that needs skill and immersion. 4s 3 more, because they are the huge effort plots (mine is essentially the whole plot developed horizontally for about 200 blocks vertically) and 5s a ton because they are pretty impossible to get.

A 2 is roughly equivalent to a just-urban plot in the old system, which would have earned a plot, while higher quality gets increasingly more plots.

Once I get a sec I’ll calculate what the nations would get under my proposed system.


May I just come with a suggestion here one sec? Maybe we oughtn’t start handing out plots by the dozens to people. And if that’s the case with building, then it should be so too with writing. When the map is filled up, things will change. Do we want hat to be a slow progress, giving people time to fill what they’ve gained, or do we want to make it one swift rush, after which most people will get bored away from a lack of further reward possibilities.


Plots are being handed out by the dozens to people who write a ton. It already is happening there. That is why I wrote this. Geo consistently gets 10+ per turn.

Changing the system would make a ton of plots at once, then very few going forward. Like, everybody would get an influx because of their existing builds, but that wouldn’t happen again because it’s difficult to build more than a few 2s or a 3 in a single turn. There would be a once-only sudden plot boost, but then it would drop to reasonable levels. I’d see myself getting 0-2 per turn (not counting nation base) for building after the change, and a solid 0 before it. Someone like Music could probably get 3-10. That’s not a swamp like you think it is, and is around on par with prolific writers. Plots only earn once per level.


At least the plot/word written should be increased. Something like 2,5k/plot would be reasonable. Then I think we might find balance.


Still not balanced. The server has earned all of 7 plots from building. That would be 17.5k words. People have written much more than that.


No, I personally do not feel strongly about the power ratings because I’m a pacifist, so all the (quite honestly) d***-measuring doesn’t impact me firsthand. My only problem with doing that as it stands is that there is a severe imbalance in the system towards those who prefer to write, and that would only sway it further in their favour. My primary concern is for the plots because I like to build. I know I haven’t filled mine up, but I have plans for decent sized cities a good few plots from my base, so getting there and claiming is a bit tricky.


Well, this is quite the post to read. There is a lot of points covered here, which I will attempt to elaborate on.

Plots from Building vs Writing.

Firstly, I do want to congratulate those who slogged out that many words, that is a hell of a lot to write. It was literally tens of thousands of words each, that is no small feat. However, I will admit that the writing this month did leave both myself and other staff surprised at just how much was written. Yes, we had a war and some larger episodes that have been started in previous months were concluded, but it was still a shock.

With the changes to the surveys, it has become harder for people to earn plots via building. This is in part due to the exponential scale of building, which is in turn, rewarded by an exponential score and additional plots and is part of an intended push towards quality, rather than quantity. The idea, is that people would look at their results and then go back and improve upon their work and if looking for more specific instruction, to ask. Clearly, this has not been the case.
As staff, there is no reasonable way for us to measure anything other than the current result in plots. We do attempt to provide some leniency regarding build ability, but the bottom line is we are pushing for higher quality and immersion. High quality builds will always score better than low quality.
Time logged onto the server is not a viable measurement. Not only do players build at very different speeds, but the simple fact there is afk exemption on the server means we can’t simply look at the time you’ve been online. Its technically impossible for us to see, so any discussion about using that instead won’t come to anything.

Conversely, since introducing the ability to gain multiple plots from Lore and RP posts, it has become easier to acquire them that way. The current community does show a preference to creating longer stories, either via short replies or massive posts. Either way, the amount written does give players active in that field a comparative advantage. Even when factoring in the idea of time spent, It is quite apparent that the most time efficient way to generate plots is via episodes.
Like building, there is also a marked difference in the quality of writing by players. While I fully understand that not everyone’s first language is English, there is definitely effort that can be made to improve their writing so it reads better and to reflect the general push towards quality, not quantity.

So the argument that it is easier to earn plots via writing, is in my opinion, correct. I agree that there does need to be some changes in this area to help level it, so to speak.

What can be done

The next question is, of course, how. I don’t think increasing the number of plots awarded is the right answer. With the current build speed, I cannot realistically see how anyone could fill so many plots with anything other than lightly altered copy/paste work, which I do not wish to encourage. I am of the opinion that the number of plots earned from writing work needs to be reduced.
Since the plots earned from building is tied to an exponential, I think it would make it more comparable to have writing on an exponential as well. This I feel will help bring it more into line with the work done via building. I could also look into the idea that diagrams, images and other additions playing a stronger role when determining this, though I am unsure of the specifics.
I don’t think it is possible for us to truly balance the two sides aspects against each other, and I suspect that the core of power scores will remain with building, while the core of plot acquiring will remain with written work. That being said, one thing previously mentioned and discussed is the idea that plots themselves contribute to the Power Points system themselves.
That being said, another pass over the rewards provided by the survey system is something I would consider, but it would only be tweaks at best. I have absolutely no intention of giving out plots for anything lower than a three, since ones and twos are, in my honest opinion, not enough.I may also bump up the amount of points received from builds as well.

Power Points

Now, to the issue of Power Points. Yes, this is something we need to look at again. It’s being ignored by some and being used as a serious bar by others, which only proves have vague and difficult to use it is. This is why I mentioned the “National Focus” idea in my announcement on the discord. Ironically, I have been approached by multiple members of the community independently (as well as having the idea separately) and there has been some debate on this matter already.

This is an area that is going to get some serious work in the near future to make them more useful and by extension, a stronger factor in considering RP. As stated previously, lore should not dictate power, but rather be the flavor behind it. At this point, I can’t say anything more about the change, simply because I’ve not come to the point where I have a working model I’m happy with, but when I do, it will be shared.


Siil maybe not increase as much as I suggested, but only 7 plots total have been earned from building. An exponential score sounds fine, but it definitely needs a buff, as there are only 7 plots in the entire world that have been decided are worth a plot. It’s simply not possible to earn plots. Even Roklavia and Kaldaross only have 2 each. I appreciate everything you’ve said about the building quality, but nations such as Danheim and Kleriel that have both put significant effort into building and have done it to a high standard have 0 plots from it.


Okay. Here are some of my two cents, and I am shamelessly going to copy Siil’s style of using headers because that makes for better reading. Hope you don’t mind. Love you.

With regards to plots
I’m with Siil in saying that a ranked 2 plot simply isn’t enough to be rewarded with a plot. Rank two, imo, is the very basic threshold of a ‘decent’ plot, and we should definitely push ourselves to do better, particularly where immersion is concerned. This includes myself. A level three plot, though, should be rewarded with one new plot. Such a plot can, in many cases, be considered ‘finished’.

With regards to power points from writing
I am, like I said, fully on board with the idea of rewarding higher-quality lore and episodes with more power points. I myself am firstly and foremostly a lorewriter, even more than a roleplayer, and I love the process of thinking out a nation, giving it flesh beyond the blocks and exploring all the things that go on inside such a faction.

The issue, of course, is to determine what is desirable in an episode or a lore article, and how much to reward it. The length of the episode or lore article is already something that is taken into consideration when rewarding plots - quantity is taken care of. My proposition would be to instead look at the quality of the posts, and rather than reward them with yet more plots only very few will ever get around to filling with structures, reward them with power points directly. This would be on a piece-by-piece basis: the quality of an entire episode, or an entire lore article, is assessed and rewarded.

Writing judgment criteria
We also need to establish those characteristics we can base our judgment on - like how plots are judged on the basis of quality and immersion. In this case, I will propose three main elements to such a judgment: writing quality, writing detail, and originality. I will explain each of these below.

We all like to read things that are coherent, well-written, and in correct English. This, in my opinion, should be the very basis of any kind of roleplay - after all, you can’t roleplay if you don’t know what the hell the other is saying. Well-written sentences, grammar and such, these are important. While I agree with Siil that some allowance can be made for foreigners, I will also say that English is not my first language either, and that to consciously work on improvement is in many cases a choice.

At the same time, it’s important to not turn writing into an English exam, so I would propose rewarding this with a maximum of 1 power point, to be awarded when the article or episode is of good enough quality.

This, in my opinion, is the core of writing. I want to sketch a scene - its sight, its sound, its smell. I want to give the things people say to each other meaning, to tell a story. To me, writing closely links to imagination - I want to see a scene in my head before I begin to describe it. This emphasis, in my opinion, is what distinguishes a ‘meh’-episode from a truly great one. Those roleplayers that spend lots of time and depth on thorough descriptions should be rewarded.

Given the importance of detail in making an episode or article enjoyable, I would propose rewarding it with a maximum of three power points, possibly using the same kind of exponential scale as in the plot surveys.

We all use inspirations when we write. I myself am basing my faction heavily on some books I read and a game series. Originality is not simply thinking of new things by yourself, but also combining things that already exist in new and interesting ways. By doing this, you create a new environment, a fascinating story or lore article full of things to discover. This does not, however, relate to the writing itself but rather to what you’re describing, and how engaging and exciting it is to read someone’s trains of thought.

Because of the effort that goes into coming up with new ideas, and the way it can greatly add to the reading experience, I propose rewarding this category with two power points.

So to summarize, every episode or lore article would be assessed for its quality in these three categories, and subsequently awarded between 0 and 6 power points. The perfect score is less than one would get for a level 5 plot - because part of the reward is in the plots, but I would say the amount of work, time and skill needed to get such a score should be comparable to the work it takes to achieve level 5 by building. I’ll be glad to hear your thoughts below.


Ok, not level 2 plots. But can we at least have level 3 plots earn something and go up from there rather than starting at the near ideal level 4? Maybe 1 for 3, 2 more for 4 and 3 more for 5?