I'm worried about the implications of this.Irongron wrote: I'm not keen on supporting settlement confict yet further. I always felt the war mechanic encouraged these conflicts as a core part of the game, and thus gave the players the expectation we wanted to see it happen. There are some great servers out there for constant guild/settlement war conflict, but I do feel Arelith is at its best when its more story-based, and based around an individual character's narrative.
That's not to say that settlement conflict is bad, or unwelcome, but I'd rather see it based around RP and special events than something perpetual.
I agree that Arelith is at its best when directed by a great story, but I feel that part of playing on a sandbox is accepting that the "story" is nothing more than the cause-effect of hundreds of different actors. It is inevitable that the free agents of a sandbox will self-organize, and that those organizations will come to be at odds, just as two players themselves might.
Taking away the tools to meaningfully mediate conflict* out of a desire to encourage more intellectual storytelling and discourage meaningless, perpetual warfare, I think, ironically results in there only being more meaningless and perpetual warfare. Unable to find catharsis, combatants are left with no choice but to make war with the tools available to them. That means nonstop PvP until the side with lesser mechanical expertise, tighter IRL schedules, less emotional resilience or simply more RP scruples capitulates. Or, what mechanics do exist are weaponised and abused, such as borderline exploitation of settlement resource dialogues ("economic warfare"), aggressive voting bloc takeovers, internal takeovers of factions/settlements through orchestrated co-option or liquidating their supplies by decieving them on an OOC level with alts. None of these options are very compelling.
tl:dr -- I think a sound and sporting war system, whatever form it may take, is very important for Arelith. Arelithians will perpetually and senselessly war between one another with or without a war system, that's just the nature of a sandbox environment. The conflicts they engage in can be made more meaningful, fair and good-natured with a war system.
I don't mean to be pendantic and over-analyze something you've said Irongron, nor am I trying to hurry along the development of a war system or weigh in on how one should work. I just think this is a worthy topic for discussion as we've all been a part of unfulfilling settlement conflicts and I wonder people's thoughts on it.
* The old war system was pretty bad, there's no denying that. I don't think it necessarily made for meaningful conflict, but it was something.