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)
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:
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.