Claims using the current system:
Currently the claim system is pretty simple and does its job well enough if you want to make impenetrable fortresses by cheesing the arbitrary rules that the claim system currently uses, while also giving player the most powerful trolling and griefing tool I’ve seen added into a game in a long while. As far as I can tell the current claim system has each foundation projecting its own claim bubble each being the exact same size as each other in all directions. This creates instances where people are going around placing single foundations claiming huge chunks of land and stopping resources being spawned or preventing people from expanding. On top of those issues, because the bubble expands downwards just as far as it does outwards this creates the currently impenetrable hill fortresses that we’re seeing on every map. All in all the current foundation claiming system isn’t healthy for the game in its current iteration, but I believe I’ve come up with an elegant solution without gutting the entire system.
First of all Claims should NOT be extended down below a foundation, this is pretty much the reason that cliff bases work and why they're so strong and impenetrable. Secondly, simply put from a technical standpoint, I’d like to see the amount of land a foundation claims work on a bell curve. By using this curve when determining how much land is claimed by a foundation, the first foundation placed always claims the least amount of land possible with subsequent foundations claiming larger and larger amounts of land (what I like about the bell curve is that eventually the amount of land claimed per foundations starts to diminish instead of continuously growing). With a system like this it makes it so that trolling people is much costlier because single foundations will not claim absurdly large plots of land and will instead claim 0 land. To claim ANY land what so ever you must at least have a 1×2, which would still only claim a small amount of land, with any subsequently foundations being attached further extending the land claim. I'd also like to see claimed areas turned into squared areas instead of circular areas. Here’s a picture kind of showing what I'm talking about. http://imgur.com/a/6oLif
Another “fix” to the issues that currently plague the land claiming issues would be an entire overhaul of what people understand as “land claims.” To most people land claims are an area of land where other players are entirely unable to build to prevent players from griefing or trolling already established players. Literally the ONLY reason for land claims to exist is to prevent players from griefing other players by blocking their doors, this is a pretty heavy handed way to prevent players from griefing one another, especially since it prevents players from doing so much in the process. Instead of the “absolute power” of the current land claims, I’d rather see soft limits imposed that make building on another person’s claim impractical in the long run, and a waste of resources. This could be done in a variety of ways that all behave slightly different and have different possibilities, but ALL of them have the potential to prevent griefing without completely removing the possibility of building on another person’s claim.
1) Building in another person’s claim results in their placed buildings rapidly decaying over a curt 5-10 minutes. This means people can still build shit on your land to explore or lay siege to your castle, but it puts a time limit on that activity and it prevents people from plopping shit on your land to grief you since it will just decay
2) Make Stuff built on another players property take a few hours to “build,” during which time they were vulnerable to ALL forms of damage. Building in Conan exiles abstracts a lot of concepts, one of them being the amount of time it takes for a building, like a foundation, to appear in the world. It happen instantaneously, the building time instead being abstracted to the players’ inventory and as crafting times. While placing the foundation on another players property though, having the process un-abstracted and take large amounts of time would probably be enough to prevent most forms of griefing, especially since the “building” pieces would be vulnerable to ALL forms of damage including fists.
3) Any building placed on your property by other people is vulnerable to ALL types of damage and takes increased damage. This would be an abstraction of the idea that if someone tried to build a wall on your property in the real world, it wouldn’t be very hard to prevent it by constantly harassing them.
Claiming Overhaul/Alternative Systems:
As I’ve stated before and will continue to do the claim system that Conan exiles currently uses is pretty horrendous for a couple of reasons, the biggest of them being how easy it is to fill the map with singular foundations blocking anyone from building, or as I’ve seen some people refer to it as “Reserving space for later.” Most of the issues with the land claim, stem directly from the fact that land claiming is attached to an object that is also used to create our bases. This creates an issue where the land claim item has to be strong enough to protect players from other players, which then in turn makes them annoyingly hard to dispose of when littered across the map. This is why I’m advocating for a system I call “object oriented claim” instead of a foundation oriented claim system.
Object oriented claim systems are far superior to foundation claiming systems, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the fact that the objects used for claiming wouldn’t be used in structurally building they wouldn’t have to be resistant to certain types of damage and don’t have to be as durable as building blocks are. This makes it harder for player to troll or grief using land claims, because each land claim will need some sort of protection and can’t simply be placed anywhere. While this doesn’t completely solve the issue of people claiming large amounts of land, it does make it cost more than it does now. Additionally the price of objects can be raised or lowered giving the developers additional levers to effect balance without it effecting the player’s ability to build anything. Another major upside to having object based land claiming is the ability to “take over” another players abandoned or conquered buildings, which is entirely impossible with the current land claim system. Lastly, object based land claims allow for easier integration of expansive claim options such as upkeep costs, expansion costs, and permissions.
When it comes to object oriented claims, there are a plethora of different ways that it can be implemented that are better than the current system being used. First, simplest, and easiest would be to simple switch the aura that foundations currently exude, and place it on a more vulnerable item that’s more expensive than a foundation but is vulnerable to even the weakest of weapons. This is what I like to refer to as the “Rust” claim system, because it’s pretty much exactly what the game rust uses to enforce its claim system. While it has its own issues, that need to be addressed, this way of claiming is SUPREMELY superior to what Conan exiles currently uses and has a lot of room for expansion.
- Basic object claim system. A vulnerable item projects the same land claim aura as foundations do now. Has its own problems, but is better balanced and harder to grief with than what Conan currently uses.
Another Object oriented claim system, which would be an amazing way to do land claims. Would be a modified “basic claim” system, where the object that claims land required constant payment/upkeep to project its claim on the surrounding area. What I find so appealing about this idea is that it creates a very common and important resource sink that removes some of the unlimited resources from the economy, creating a more stable trade network in the game. A variation of this idea, could be that players were charged an upkeep per item place inside the land claim, while this idea does basically the same thing as the last, it is more complicated, without adding much of anything to the idea, and thus I prefer the first one I suggested. Both of these ideas could be greatly expanded on to work in a variety of different ways, one of my favorite being there would objects that project land claims of various sizes and use different resources as their payments.
- Object claim system that builds off the basic one described above. Requires an upkeep to maintain the land claim it projects. While simple in concept can be expanded on in a variety of different ways to add additional depth and balance if needed or wanted.
The third land claim system I think would be interesting to explore is what I call the Sid Meyers Civilization claim system. This claim system would revolve around placing a claiming object, that projected a smaller than standard sized land claim. The land claim object could then be interacted with bringing up a map of the immediate area cut into hexs. Each hex would represent an area that players could “purchase” to expand the land that they claim in a very similar way to how civilizations expand in the civ games. This sort of system would require that player only have 2-3 claim flags available at any one time to prevent people from spamming the cheap initial claim instead of purchasing more land.
- Claim system that revolves around “purchasing” more land, in the form of hexs, off of the original land claim. Each player would be limited to a specific number of claims to prevent claim being spammed in their cheapest form
Personally, I’d like to see a claim system that utilized a modified version of the upkeep system I suggested above. It would revolve around using flags as the object capable of claiming land. Players would have access to three basic claim flags, which unlocked along with foundations of their respective tier. Each tier of claim flag would, like you’d expect, claim larger and larger amounts of land with the tier 3 flag claiming up to twice as much land or more than a current foundation. While also having different claim sizes, each flag would run on a different fuel/s, the tier 1 flag would of course be run using low level items like wood, or basic meat, while the tier 2 and 3 flags would be run using more advanced items respectively, ranging from iron ore to demons blood. To prevent players from spamming low tier flags, and ignoring higher tiers to avoid their higher upkeep cost there would have to be extensive balancing done to make sure each item converted/sacrificed turned into an appropriate amount of claim time, I also think it might be worth looking into a level modifier that made low tier flags less effective based on the average level of your clan and maybe some soft limits on flags that increase cost the more that are placed. Now I can already hear the questions asking “why not make the claim time pool a single entity instead of based on tier” and that is a wonderful question. By splitting up the claim time into 3 different pools, the player is forced to pay in different tiers of materials instead of mass farming cheap materials like wood to fuel their land claim and this is done to help fight the inflation of materials that servers will start to experience after being live for extended periods of time. Also it’s worth noting that I think it is appropriate for lower tiers of flags to use higher tiers of claim time fuel, but that it’s never okay for a higher tier to use lower tier claim time fuels. Meaning that a tier 1 claim can use tier 2 or 3 fuel, but tier 3 claims cannot use tier 1 or 2 fuel.
Claim system built on the idea that having an upkeep cost is a REALLY good idea for the long term health of servers planing to run continuously, but could be turner off fro blitz servers.
3 tiers of flags that claim progressively bigger amounts of land and require different more rare materials to run
Low tier flags can use high tier claim time, but not the opposite.
To add these fuels to a land claim, players would interact with any flag that they or their clan owns which would open up a menu that looked like this (http://imgur.com/a/7pxUx) players would then place items into the inventory section. Players would then have to press the convert/sacrifice button which would then delete all the items in the inventory section and add the appropriate amount of time to the land claims. While this might seem a little convoluted, and you might be wondering why not simply have the items draw out of the “inventory” section each time an upkeep cost hits, I think it’s important to prevent people from losing ALL the time they “saved” up by cashing in materials simply because they had their flag destroyed and the system I described above would do just that, without turning claim flags into un-raid-able chests. I also believe it’s important for all the claim flags to have a shared space to pay your upkeep costs, so that players aren’t forced to tediously travel to EVERY claim flag they own inputting materials into each. Now this could be accomplished by having each claim flag just share an inventory, but that would allow for players to easily, and without danger transfer materials from one side of the world to the other, by placing materials in one flag and pulling them out of another. So to avoid that, I think having the “time fuel” be shared, but not the inventories is a good compromise.
- Claims would all share a single resource pool, that was attached to the player and couldn't be stolen from or taken.
In addition to changing the physical object that projects land claims and how land claims are actually projected, I think improvements can be made in the way that land claims actually work, and that those changes can be made in a way to improve the system I described above. What I’d like to see done with land claims, is I’d like to see it turned into more of a soft limit than the hard limit it currently is. I’d like to see land claims changed to the point where people who don’t own a land claim can still build stuff, but that there were certain de-buffs that were applied to the buildings to prevent people from easily griefing other players. In the iteration of lands claims that I imagine, anything placed on a land claim you don’t own could be dismantled immediately by the owners of the land claim, but instead of getting resources back for the dismantled building pieces, the dismantling player would instead get more land claim time.
Anyway, that’s my ideas for how land claims could massively be improved and I’d love to hear what you guys think of it. If you have any suggestions, questions, criticism or questions just drop them in the comments, I try to answer every comment I receive.
Edit: I forgot to explian the "priority" box that I had on my rough sketch of the interface. That represents the order in which claims will be destroyed when upkeep costs aren't met of course it could be configurable by players.