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What's up with City populations?

SindreganSindregan Posts: 7Member
edited August 10 in The Scarlattan Theatre
Hello! I have been noticing that some cities, specifically the more... offensive-oriented ones (e.g., Mhaldor, Ashtan) tend to have very low population compared to the more... peaceful ones (Hashan, Cyrene). Sometimes that number feels like less than half, maybe even less than a quarter some days.

Why is it that people tend to avoid these strongly-thematic cities, when it seems like they may have the biggest potential for strong RP? Is it because they try to enforce citizens to participate in PvP-related activities? Perhaps the class restrictions imposed? Or is it other "RP restrictions", whatever that may mean, imposed on the citizens?

I mean, I understand that someone may not want to RP a slave, for example, but the other cities don't seem to have such extremes...
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  • JonathinJonathin Grand Rapids, MIPosts: 3,216Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited August 10
    Just a correction. Hashan isn't really a peaceful city.

    2017/08/08 04:56:29 - Regi has sanctioned a raid against The City of Targossas.
    2017/08/10 04:58:55 - Karren has sanctioned a raid against The City of Eleusis.
    2017/08/10 06:05:05 - Karren has sanctioned a raid against The City of Ashtan.

    We just get depressed and apathetic when part of the crew abandons us. cough @Karren cough

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  • FrederichFrederich Posts: 1,243Member @ - Epic Achaean
    Mhaldor/Ashtan/Targossas also has a fuckton of gems which hide them from QWHO, which makes the city seem absolutely abandoned.
    XadenTorinnSindreganLaedha
  • KyrraKyrra Sanctum of the SkyPosts: 4,382Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    So many gems.
    (D.M.A.): Cooper says, "Kyrra is either the most innocent person in the world, or the girl who uses the most innuendo seemingly unintentionally but really on purpose."

  • MathildaMathilda Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    There's a certain level of activity expected of Mhaldorian and Targossian players, via participation in the army, a ministry, or various other projects. In comparions, Cyrene and Hashan are more freewheeling. You can get by with just being city rank 1 for decades in the latter two, for example, something that's scrutinized in the former two.
     <3 
  • KietKiet Posts: 2,215Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Largely because like any RP game, people just wanna RP the typical  'I do what I want' character. It's the same reason chaotic neutral is a popular alignment in dnd.

    Generally, the larger cities are the ones with the least restrictions, though Targossas/Mhaldor get temporarily big here and there despite being the most restrictive.


    MicaelisTorinn
  • MicaelisMicaelis Posts: 266Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Like Kiet said, there are a lot of restrictions placed on the heaviest RP/PvP cities. Some people don't like this, while the 'realness' is also something that attracts a lot of people like me. 

    It can mean you can't spend time with friends, you can't buy/sell from certain people, you can't buy/sell certain things, you can't hunt here or there, kill this person or that person, et cetera. 

    There's a higher expectation and burden in cities like Mhaldor and Targossas, which are most affected by this, and that turns a lot of people off. Or, for some of us, it really turns us on. Hnng. 
    TorinnSylphieSindreganTalamond
  • SylphieSylphie Posts: 39Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited August 10
    Don't feel fooled by Mhaldor qw at least. I think upon hitting troni they're given a gem to hide from who. Was fighting with team good once and they emerged from the sands, they did.
    AldwicBannTysandrHalos
  • TorinnTorinn Posts: 590Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Exactly.  I personally enjoy it.  Gives strong thematic flavor.  I would be so bored in cyrene making pastries all day (or whatever it is most people do with their time over there)
    Deucalion says, "Torinn is quite nice."
  • XideronXideron Posts: 24Member ✭✭ - Stalwart
    I can't speak regarding others, but I can speak of my own experience at least. I started out in Mhaldor, I was going to give the whole Evil thing a spin and see where it led for me. The more I got into the lore of Mhaldor and Sartan the more I kept thinking to myself, "This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and this does not compel me." A lot of what was written versus what was said didn't really make sense to me either, and of the few rituals I attended, Mhaldor became a vastly different environment than what I was expecting. To me, it seemed like a city of paradox. Slaves must obey, yet they are given free reign to learn, hunt, and choose a house. Slave should be seen, not heard, but hey feel free to ask questions on house and clan channels. It confused the hell out of me and always left me second guessing whether or not I should even risk asking a question for fear of punishment(or a dreaded trip to Theoren which I thankfully never had to suffer through).

    So yeah, after I think about a week of that, I decided it wasn't my cup of tea and left. I found Eleusis and the ideals of Nature more palatable personally, being from the Blighted Isle helps add depth to my roleplay experience there, and I have really enjoyed my stay since. Somewhat similar to what @Micaelis said, I get the feeling that for the more polarized cities, you should already have a somewhat strong inclination toward them. Without that, I'd imagine one would get burned out pretty quick by the mindset and roleplay requirements, and like myself, I can't very well see anyone sticking with an experience they don't enjoy.
  • ShaydeShayde Posts: 342Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    edited August 10
    Also, I don't think it was mentioned but I know with Mhaldor and Targossas... what time of day you're in the city dictates how many people are around. Mhaldor is predominantly working American and their peak times are 6pm-12am EST. Targossas members mostly hail from "across the pond" and their peak is any time before 7pm EST.

    The other cities seem to have a good mixture of both timezones.

    Edit: seriously, I am at work right now, but I stay logged in because if a newbie comes In.. There'd be no-one around to answer their questions.



  • XideronXideron Posts: 24Member ✭✭ - Stalwart
    Antonius said:
    This is just a "consequence" (for lack of a better word) of Achaea being a game. The experience of playing the game is supposed to be enjoyable, so you need to give players the freedom to 1. actually do things and 2. do things they want to do.
    This is a fair assessment, and I understand the points you make. I agree with you too, it's not a "consequence", more of a limitation or requirement.
    Antonius said:
    There's also a pretty steep learning curve to Achaea for genuinely new players, so there's a balance that needs to be reached between "seen but not heard" and "you can learn how to play the game so you don't just quit".

    From my experience (as an outsider), I think Mhaldor does a good job of achieving those goals, but it does mean that for some people they're not going to get the hardcore experience they were expecting, and somethings are contradictory (by necessity).
    I have to admit, I'm a bit on the fence about whether I agree or disagree with you, more of a kind of middling point. Mhaldor does indeed achieve those goals, whether or not it does a good job of it, I feel, is subjective and dependent upon the observer. I do believe there is room for improvement or tweaks though.

    If you're going to have "slaves" and carry with them the connotation that they serve their superiors and Lord Sartan, then they need to be assigned to a master, somewhat similar to being allowed to pick a mentor or even utilizing the mentor system. "A man chooses, a slave obeys" comes to mind for that. I do realize that removes the capability of player choice and agency, yet for Mhaldor and for being a slave to Evil, I feel that's actually necessary to some degree. Also, while it could be argued that a slave's only master should be Sartan, I feel that's a very poor... execution I suppose?

    I also think that instances of "Slaves should be seen and not heard" could more easily be replaced with, "Ignorance is weakness that shall be removed from you. Stupidity shall not be tolerated. Remember your station when you address your superiors, and think very carefully about your words before you speak." That still drives across the point of not flooding channels with chat spam, being careful with your words, maintaining proper RP decorum, and isn't contradicted when people start telling you to use house and clan channels for questions.

    I realize that these are more personal gripes with the roleplay, and that as it was, it was just not my cup of tea. However, a bit more clarification and a bit less contradiction would have probably kept me around Mhaldor longer. As it was, it just felt cultish more than an actual city. Just my two sovereigns.
  • MelodieMelodie Port Saint Lucie, FloridaPosts: 4,595Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited August 10
    Xideron said:

    If you're going to have "slaves" and carry with them the connotation that they serve their superiors and Lord Sartan, then they need to be assigned to a master, somewhat similar to being allowed to pick a mentor or even utilizing the mentor system. "A man chooses, a slave obeys" comes to mind for that. I do realize that removes the capability of player choice and agency, yet for Mhaldor and for being a slave to Evil, I feel that's actually necessary to some degree. Also, while it could be argued that a slave's only master should be Sartan, I feel that's a very poor... execution I suppose?
    Members of both Houses in Mhaldor are required a mentor at a certain House rank - it's three for the Insidium, a little less sure (but should be similar) for the Legates. This gives true newbies room to explore the themes of Mhaldor yet actually get the basics of the game under their belt before diving in fully (this is important and has become something more stressed to us by the admins as the years have passed because, lets be frank - Achaea has had a downturn of population, and retention of true newbies is difficult). While mentors may not precisely be masters, in a lot of ways most mentors do take responsibility for you and tell you a great deal of what you need to do to get full rank - HR7 - in Mhaldor, which is the point where you can be submitted to become a Troni. It's a decent system I feel manages to balance both Achaea being a game, but Mhaldor being Mhaldor.

    Xideron said:

    I also think that instances of "Slaves should be seen and not heard" could more easily be replaced with, "Ignorance is weakness that shall be removed from you. Stupidity shall not be tolerated. Remember your station when you address your superiors, and think very carefully about your words before you speak." That still drives across the point of not flooding channels with chat spam, being careful with your words, maintaining proper RP decorum, and isn't contradicted when people start telling you to use house and clan channels for questions.
    One of the very first ranks in either House, if not THE first rank (not online to check just this second) involves a task on reading CHELP BEHAVIOUR and CHELP STANDINGORDERS, both of which detail exactly what you mention above. In fact, one of my usual HNT messages I use for new members is "Welcome, Initiate, to the Insidium." "Do read over HHELP WELCOME and its contents fully. Should you have any questions, ask here via HNT <message> so we may begin to alleviate your ignorance as you begin your path to understanding your place within His planet." Like, nearly word for word. But the thing is, we've also had a lot of newbies quit (and then tell us later) that they felt they weren't allowed to ask questions at all, and they were confused about how to play the game, so they left for a city that could do that for them. Which, lemme tell you, is super frustrating for us.

    I'm sorry you didn't find your experience compelling, and consistency of experience is something we're constantly trying to work on (which has been harder lately, a lot of our pop isn't around as much this time of year - school starting should help there), but certainly a lot of the structure of what you want detailed in your post is already in place. Moreover, it's hard to know where our newbies are coming from, so all we can do is prepare things for the best swathe of them we can, and then when you get a mentor is when you get the more personalized, tweaked experience that becomes more of your own story.
    "You have had an extraordinary adventure, my dear. Extraordinary! One that few people could ever imagine. Treasure it. Keep it safe and secure, tucked away in some special place in your heart. 

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  • ShaydeShayde Posts: 342Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    edited August 10
    I disagree, Xideron. Every slave, from my experience in the Insidium, must be paired with a master (mentor) once they achieve a certain rank within the house. Obviously, we're not going to force this requirement on them when they're younger (because that sort of relationship takes a lot of work... And who knows if they'll stick around) but insinuating that we don't is a bit naive.

    I realize Mhaldor is not everyone's cup of tea, but I know the Insidium pours a shit ton of hours into making the novice experience as enjoyable as possible (They are players too, we want them to stick around in our "rough" environment and not just confine them to do one thing). We do enforce our rules, we require that each of our members grow stronger, etc. It's a very thankless job taking a protege/slave so we want to make sure they aren't going to up and leave on us.
     



    Kiet
  • FarrahFarrah Posts: 1,534Member, Secret Squirrel @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Shayde said:
    Also, I don't think it was mentioned but I know with Mhaldor and Targossas... what time of day you're in the city dictates how many people are around. Mhaldor is predominantly working American and their peak times are 6pm-12am EST. Targossas members mostly hail from "across the pond" and their peak is any time before 7pm EST.

    The other cities seem to have a good mixture of both timezones.

    Edit: seriously, I am at work right now, but I stay logged in because if a newbie comes In.. There'd be no-one around to answer their questions.
    This seems like a really weird assessment of peak times. I'm in EST and Mhaldor does everything while I'm at work and Targ is smaller. Then Targ gets really big around 8 pm to 12 am EST and Mhaldor is dead.
  • ShaydeShayde Posts: 342Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    edited August 10
    Farrah said:
    Shayde said:
    Also, I don't think it was mentioned but I know with Mhaldor and Targossas... what time of day you're in the city dictates how many people are around. Mhaldor is predominantly working American and their peak times are 6pm-12am EST. Targossas members mostly hail from "across the pond" and their peak is any time before 7pm EST.

    The other cities seem to have a good mixture of both timezones.

    Edit: seriously, I am at work right now, but I stay logged in because if a newbie comes In.. There'd be no-one around to answer their questions.
    This seems like a really weird assessment of peak times. I'm in EST and Mhaldor does everything while I'm at work and Targ is smaller. Then Targ gets really big around 8 pm to 12 am EST and Mhaldor is dead.
    I'm going off of being logged in from 7 am - 9 pm EST. M-F, most of mhaldor doesn't "wake up" till 6pm EST. I am usually the only one around till then. This time zone difference also showed up during the war too.

    I mean it is 1pm EST... And there are 9 Targossians vs me.



  • FarrahFarrah Posts: 1,534Member, Secret Squirrel @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Guess our peaks are about the same then. Targ gets a lot bigger later at night EST.

    Mhaldor just really likes to raid/crusade at 8 am.
    Shayde
  • XideronXideron Posts: 24Member ✭✭ - Stalwart
    Melodie said:
    Members of both Houses in Mhaldor are required a mentor at a certain House rank - it's three for the Insidium, a little less sure (but should be similar) for the Legates. 
    I spent a very brief stint with the Legates, maybe a day or so? From their help files it was optional at HR1, and required by HR3. All the same, I feel as though, considering the dynamics and gravity of Mhaldorian roleplay, this should be a HR1 requirement, if not something that can be addressed before joining a house. Granted, I'm not privy to what's been stressed from the admin, so I don't know if this was what it was like before and then discouraged in favor of the new arrangement(In which case, bleh to it).
    Melodie said:
    But the thing is, we've also had a lot of newbies quit (and then tell us later) that they felt they weren't allowed to ask questions at all, and they were confused about how to play the game, so they left for a city that could do that for them. Which, lemme tell you, is super frustrating for us.
    I'm really sorry it's frustrating. I've never been in a similar position, but I do know how disheartening it is to see city mates leave at the least. As for why they feel like they weren't allowed to ask questions, I think it's because CHELP NEWSLAVE states in the beginning:
    You are a slave. You have no rights, no opinions, no say in aught of importance. You are to be seen and not heard, unless you are called upon to speak. Should the thought of disobedience or rebellion even so much as flit across your mind, you will swiftly learn the error of your ways... painfully.
    I can't speak of other newbies that quit, but this definitely discouraged me from asking any questions whatsoever, even after I got into the house and was told to ask questions on the house channel. It was the very first scroll I read in Mhaldor, and as such, it had a pretty substantial effect on me and how I roleplayed.
    Melodie said:
    I'm sorry you didn't find your experience compelling, and consistency of experience is something we're constantly trying to work on (which has been harder lately, a lot of our pop isn't around as much this time of year - school starting should help there), but certainly a lot of the structure of what you want detailed in your post is already in place. Moreover, it's hard to know where our newbies are coming from, so all we can do is prepare things for the best swathe of them we can, and then when you get a mentor is when you get the more personalized, tweaked experience that becomes more of your own story.
    And I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm just griping without cause or venting personal issues. I enjoy Achaea, I'd like for the game to continue growing rather than shrinking. Sure, maybe if I had stuck around for a little while longer in Mhaldor, things may have been different. However, to my perspective, there was very little engagement for slaves and trying to seek that engagement was discouraged. I may be wrong, definitely wouldn't be the first time! All I can speak of though is my own experience and hope that helps to shape a better experience for future players. ==================================================
    Shayde said:
    I disagree, Xideron. Every slave, from my experience in the Insidium, must be paired with a master (mentor) once they achieve a certain rank within the house. Obviously, we're not going to force this requirement on them when they're younger (because that sort of relationship takes a lot of work... And who knows if they'll stick around) but insinuating that we don't is a bit naive.
    I apologize if I gave the impression that I believed that slaves didn't have to have a mentor, or made it sound like I was insinuating they didn't. I know they have to have a mentor, but from the few interactions I did manage to observe, I was led to the impression that the association between a mentor and a protege is a different dynamic than that of a slave and a master. That, and the first time you are introduced to that requirement is at HR3 in the Legates. That's actually the only real qualm I have, that the requirement isn't made earlier, perhaps even before membership in a house. Granted, my perspective of what a slave is might also be muddying the water a bit. Regardless, I will concede my point from your counter-point regarding retention and the amount of work needed for those sorts of interactions. I've never been a mentor, so I can't speak to the general workload or the amount of work that specifically goes into a Mhaldorian mentor/protege relationship. The only compromise that I could see would be to rename the rank to something else so that it doesn't carry as restrictive connotations with it, yet I also understand that would be a monumental undertaking.
    ShaydeAldwic
  • KietKiet Posts: 2,215Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited August 11
    Farrah said:
    Guess our peaks are about the same then. Targ gets a lot bigger later at night EST.

    Mhaldor just really likes to raid/crusade at 8 am.
    Blame people being bored at work for that, we don';t exactly have a ton of people at that time either, haha.

    @Xideron I'm confused. You say slaves should be held to stricter standards, but you admit yourself you quit because of standards you thought were too strict. Which is it?

    Mhaldor slaves also shouldn't need a 'master' because they're not personal slaves. They're the city's slaves, which isn't really a concept without precedent in rl and other media.
  • LucianusLucianus Posts: 386Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited August 11
    Mhaldorian slaves are more like... slaves in the Roman Empire. They were actually treated pretty well and were allowed to receive education and be able to work in highly skilled vocations. That's how I've always thought slaves in Mhaldor were like. It's not the kind of slavery you'd expect to find out of a Conan movie.
    A quick link to read more about it:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_ancient_Rome

    *edit: and yes, unskilled slaves exist and were treated poorly, you'd often see that imagery on the way npc slaves were treated*
    That is not an ordinary star, my son. That star is the tear of a warrior. A lost soul who has finished his battles somewhere on this planet. A pitiful soul who could not find his way to the lofty realm where the great spirit awaits us all.

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  • XideronXideron Posts: 24Member ✭✭ - Stalwart
    Kiet said:

    @Xideron I'm confused. You say slaves should be held to stricter standards, but you admit yourself you quit because of standards you thought were too strict. Which is it?

    Mhaldor slaves also shouldn't need a 'master' because they're not personal slaves. They're the city's slaves, which isn't really a concept without precedent in rl and other media.
    Neither? I'm not sure where you're inferring that I was calling for stricter standards, or where I quit because of standards being too strict? If you mean where I was suggesting that mentors be required at HR1 or even before membership in houses, I just feel that would help newbies get more adjusted to Mhaldorian lore and roleplay quicker. I also do still stand by my original statement that if it's feasible, I think it'd be better for them to be assigned to masters/mentors as it would build into the RP of Mhaldor, but I will also concede to Shayde's point that it is a great deal of work and responsibility to mentor a protege/slave. As I've said before, I'm not sure of a compromise to that, but I don't really feel those are stricter standards, just different ones.

    As for why I quit, I quit because the rules in place were, to me, contradictory and paradoxical, not necessarily strict. It wasn't fun to play feeling like I couldn't ask questions, talk, or say anything. I also quit because I didn't really feel engaged with the roleplay aspect of the slave caste in Mhaldor, again, not my cup of tea. As for slaves being slaves to the city rather than a personal master, I'll freely admit that is an aspect that I failed to grasp during my time there.
  • KietKiet Posts: 2,215Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited August 11
    If you're afraid of punishments or losing a little XP sometimes, then yeah Mhaldor's not gonna be fun for you anyway. Everyone in Mhaldor for a long time has had to deal with both of those at one point. The key is to find the fun in even those interactions, because they let you develop your character/relationships.
  • RoattRoatt Posts: 7Member
    Joined Mhaldor originally due to it having a strong 'offensive' theme. As a newbie to Achaea (not to IRE) I had a ton of questions to get going quickly and there were - zero - players in the city, gave it a few hours (or maybe a couple of days, cant remember details) without being able to interact with another citizen so packed my bags and left for Hashan.

    Assumed it was just my time-zone (New Zealand) and no point staying there if always quiet at those times.
  • LucianusLucianus Posts: 386Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I play pst. :(

    Number of people on the time I usually play in evenings:

    Citizen                                                   Rank CT  Class
    -------                                                   ---- --  -----
    XX                                                               X  On  Apostate
    XX                                                               X  On  Bard
    XX                                                                X  On  Infernal


    But... I've been playing IRE long enough to know that you should never pick a city for its population, but rather... for the sake of whether or not it fits with the development of your Character's RP.

    Cause player populations in cities these days comes in waxing and waning waves. You'll have a bunch of players active in one city and another city is bound to take a hit somewhere. And by the time you leave for a city that seems to be the most populous, it can most likely turn into the opposite very easily.

    The best thing you can do if you're really dedicated to a city is to try and prolong the waxing cycle by focusing on player engagement and retention. But don't let the decrease in player population be a soul-crushing defeat, because the waning phase is part of that cycle.
    That is not an ordinary star, my son. That star is the tear of a warrior. A lost soul who has finished his battles somewhere on this planet. A pitiful soul who could not find his way to the lofty realm where the great spirit awaits us all.

    Free Community System for Achaea: TReX System <link here>
    - I have decided to become involve in developing and maintaining this community system for Achaea. Feel free to message me in-game or on forum for help or bugfixing.
  • ReysonReyson Posts: 282Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I mean, if you're on at the right time, there're enough people in every City atm to do what you want, except when those Cities forbid it (like wanting to go raiding as Cyrene or w/e). Can definitely be a bit tough if you play the very late/early morning times EST, but even then, there are a few European players who make the game fun and interesting at those times! Just don't expect there to be a million people on. 
  • LaedhaLaedha Posts: 56Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    It's much more balanced than it appears on QWC because of the gem issue, as others have said, but I think Cyrene has been one of the most consistently populous cities recently because neutrality is attractive to people whose roleplay isn't conflict-driven. There are a lot of people whose primary fun in the game comes from crafting, artistic pursuits, exploring, and commerce. It's not that any of those is limited to Cyrene, but you directly advance in two of the Cyrenian houses primarily from doing those things. 
    Jinos
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