Roads and caravans

This one is pretty simple. We want the world to feel “normal”.
Which means that roads need to serve a purpose, bridges need to be worth making a detour to cross and running through deep jungle should be a bit more time consuming than follow explored paths.

Roads will allow mounts, vehicles and players to move faster than in the wilderness. We will also be adding more roads to the game, linking player holdings to the NPC road network.
We’re also adding some drawbacks to moving in water, like currents and durability losses.
And as we master the world building tools, we will make the world more “bushy” so that there are less straight paths out in the wilderness and make it require more skill to navigate.

The advantages of that, for game design, are that we create choke points and known routes that can be watched by bandits and create emergent gameplay. It also makes the world, in the eyes of new players, smaller and larger at the same time. Smaller because travels can effectively be sped up but larger because what is away from the roads is wild and unknown.

Pack mules and caravans

As we’ve touched on before, we intend on having local banking and localized resources.
These features usually mean that there can be a healthy trading meta game emerging. We want to make that even easier by providing tools that allow caravans.

Here is a list of some of the changes we have planned:

  • Mount figurines show remaining health and what advanced bonus they have.
  • When a mount is spawned, there is a 20 second delay during which only the owner can climb on.
  • When a rider unmounts, there is a 20 seconds delay during which the mount is secure.
  • Tailors may craft different “mount packs”:
    • Personal: the cheapest pack, can only be accessed by the owner.
    • Group: a bit more expensive, can only be accessed by the owner’s group.
    • Clan: the most expensive version, accessible by the owner’s clan members.
  • When a player has a pack in his inventory, he has new options on spawned mounts: “equip xxxx pack”.
  • When accessed through secondary use, mounts offer a new option: “Cargo”.
  • The cargo option opens a storage window where items may be placed, similar to a strongbox.
  • Once a mount has something in its cargo, it cannot be ridden or despawned. anymore It will follow its owner at a speed depending on the mount:
    • Battle horns go at human running speed.
    • Normal mounts go at human sprinting speed.
    • Bluetails runner go at normal mount speed.
  • Different mounts can carry various weights:
    • Bluetail: 100kg.
    • Normal: 200kg.
    • Battle horns : 300kg.
  • They can carry more, but will be overburdened and slowed down.
  • A pack mule cannot go in water or it will drown.
  • If a mount is killed, it will drop a grave with only 50% of it’s content, the rest being destroyed.
  • If the owner of a mount dies, the mount will remain in place.
  • Mounts that have cargo have various new controls:
    • Follow me: owner, or group member, or clan member.
    • Wait here: owner, or group member, or clan member.
    • Gain control: anyone, takes 2 minutes of channeling.

Since the mounts have various speed in pack-mule mode, depending on the chosen mount, the owner will have different choices in transportation mode. For instance with a normal mount, a player has to be on foot or risk outrunning his pack mule, but he may be on a Battle ark as well and both. Note that Battle Arks have slots for strongboxes and can serve as armed convoys with pack mules following its passengers.
On the other hand, a player using a Bluetail pack mule can use a normal mount for a quick trade run.

The “Caravan leader” title upgrades the amount of pack mules that follows a character. Up to 6 mounts can follow a maxed out caravan leader.

Note that ships and warhulks figurines will always overburden a character, even if he has enough space in theory. Pack mules and vehicles with strongboxes are the only way to transfer these quickly. Whether it is to prepare a siege or bring a boat quickly to the shore, pack mules are the solution.

At a later date, we will add new mounts, like actual mules and camels. We will also eventually upgrade the taming system to include a breeding system to obtain improved or specialized mounts.

We hope that these systems create trade routes that follow semi predictable paths and create emergent game play opportunities. Highway men and escorts could become a daily activity and a dedicated play style for some.

These tools to improve trading are the first step of our economic improvements.

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