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Icons and Free PK areas - perpetuating conflict that includes the occasional noncombatant

JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
After some great battles, the dust on icons seems to have largely settled, and the only people bothering with them are cities/houses that are pretty sure they won't be messed with any time soon, and that can pretty handily defend them if anyone tried.  I absolutely loved the free PK aspect of Nish as a noncombatant when I was in Mhaldor.  It was a way for someone like me to dabble in real conflict with a built-in eject button.  

1) Would having bashing in Nish be a problem?  If so, maybe a different area could be designated free PK?  This would just allow people to dabble on an individual basis, though, not encourage battles.  Still, would be nice.  

2) Look at how icons work... maybe when one goes down it can't be empowered for a certain amount of time (RL weeks?  months?), but isn't outright destroyed?  Maybe make it easier to take down, too?  This would allow bolder members of a house to try to go resurrect the icon later on, and hopefully encourage more skirmishes? 

And if there are other (better) ideas to make "dabbling" more appealing to us noncomms, what are they?
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Comments

  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of MhaldorMember Posts: 537 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    One of the big problems that I see with Icons is that the whole system really discourages conflict. You gotta pay an exorbitant amount of gold to raise one, and then pay an exorbitant amount of time spent bashing up shards, and then -- there's no guarantee that the investment will pay off, long term.

    The question was recently raised in Mhaldor about getting new icons, and the answer was a resounding, and flat, NO. Lorielan style.

    If icons were made easier to raise, or cheaper, I'm really not certain if I would support it either. The amount of time required just for upkeep detracts from so much else that could be accomplished, with very little benefit.
    image
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited January 2013
    Nizaris said:
    One of the big problems that I see with Icons is that the whole system really discourages conflict. You gotta pay an exorbitant amount of gold to raise one, and then pay an exorbitant amount of time spent bashing up shards, and then -- there's no guarantee that the investment will pay off, long term.

    The question was recently raised in Mhaldor about getting new icons, and the answer was a resounding, and flat, NO. Lorielan style.

    If icons were made easier to raise, or cheaper, I'm really not certain if I would support it either. The amount of time required just for upkeep detracts from so much else that could be accomplished, with very little benefit.
    I got a much more diplomatic, but equally resolved NO too :)  Right now, the whole org (and really, the city) needs to be on board, needs to make the substantial investment (again), needs to be ready and willing to defend the icon with as many forces as can be mustered.   The battles are incredibly long (epic, but long).  And then, bye bye icon... And once that happened a few times, the system became *too* stable -  a few houses with the sheer wherewithal to do so maintain icons, but everyone else has unfortunately just given up, because it's a bit all or nothing.  So, no more Nish conflict.

    EDIT:  managed to hit button before I was done!
  • ThaumasThaumas Member Posts: 432 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited January 2013
    I don't know if you were around since the change was introduced, but Icon battles have been made significantly shorter and destruction can only be done in phases in which they are vulnerable. Just thought, since you said they're "incredibly long". More here and here.

    Mhaldor really doesn't have enough members to defend icons, so that option is completely out of question. Even for others - if Ashtan wants an icon dead, that icon will be dead. Hashan only has icons because their enemies aren't stupid enough to buy them.
    image
    Jules
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    Thanks Thaumas, those are really good changes.  I think the battles I was in were before then?  Not sure, honestly.  But both nice changes that should only help with the sort of thing I'd like to have happen again (battles/skirmishes that noncomms can get involved with and when it's done, it's done).  I have to guess that the problem is that the icon can still be killed completely (and most likely will be, by Ashtan, the biggest kid on the block), and nearly everyone has to be on board to buy a new one.  
  • WilhelminaWilhelmina Member Posts: 249 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I like the changes, but most non-combatants aren't going to want to enter Nishnatoba. For have non-coms engage in conflict or at least feel like they're supporting their side or city, I'd prefer a Research system like Aetolia has (and their upcoming Espionage and Communication systems) over icons.
    TvistorIphis
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    Yes, ^this is what I want, and why I liked being involved in Nishnatoba so much.  Not remotely dead set on the idea of bashing there, either.  But I love the clear cut nature of having a free PK zone where, you're open season while there, and when you're not (because you died or survived), you're very distinctly not open season any more. 
  • VaehlVaehl Member Posts: 962 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited January 2013
    Balance of power giving hints at shifting. Without Tanris, Ashtan hasn't been doing too well, and Shallam has a huge force. If they train their refugees more and start focusing on combat, they could likely take down some Ashtani icons allowing Eleusis to get some (don't think Shallam would destroy an Eleusian icon). I'm thinking hugeish cata and entrenchment with rites like 5 deep. Would have to try surviving Ashtan's range though (need double block every direction, lots of perform hands, and large cata/meteor-ers to force Ashtan out of area.) prob need a counter for pit first, and they need to wait until they have a city.

    Edit: oh and to be on topic for once, I like the idea of using Nish, maybe even briefly - for those who think it should just remain an ancient battleground. Sounds like things can rise up from there disturbed by the recent events.
    TvistorSherazadJules
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,900 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Oh my god, you made Vaehl post productively.

    But yeah, rebuilding icons for Mhaldor is just out of the question. Even during the last icon conflict, we held the icons for a bit, but Ashtan just tried every so often until it worked. I believe it ended with Ashtan entrenched at our icons for like an hour beforehand. (I wasn't present)
    JulesAveri
  • OgnogOgnog Member Posts: 284 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I raised this with @Tecton in a UStream a year or more ago. If I recall correctly, His response was that it was going in cycles with various cities having all their icons up at different times and that the game devs were fairly happy with the way things were going with icons.
    I still feel that icons need an adjustment, however, because there are many houses which will never raise one because they know they won't be able to properly defend an icon and the loss of an icon is too punitive to have one unless you're certain you can keep it from falling. An adjustment which would grant the victors a temporary boon when they destroy an icon, without punishing the house losing the icon too harshly, would see more houses having a go at keeping an icon and fewer shards discarded as worthless trash.

    Jules
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,900 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I like not having to get shards though.
    Jules
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    What I get out of this is that they made some real improvements to icons after the first few battles, but it's just still not *quite* getting the results.  My gut reaction when I saw what happened, and then recently put out a few feelers to see if people would be willing to raise icons again is similar to other posters I think, and pretty much what I was getting at in my OP.  You've got to get too many people on board to raise the icon again, and after being burned a time or two, leaders in a city like Cyrene (or even Mhaldor!) just can't bite off on it.  
    Ognog
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    I like the changes, but most non-combatants aren't going to want to enter Nishnatoba. For have non-coms engage in conflict or at least feel like they're supporting their side or city, I'd prefer a Research system like Aetolia has (and their upcoming Espionage and Communication systems) over icons.
    I forgot to answer this, even though I did see it.  I don't know what these are... @wilhelmina can you give some kind of brief summary?
  • OgnogOgnog Member Posts: 284 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    @Tael I certainly like your ideas 1 and 3 above, but would prefer to retain shard upkeep. It gives house members another thing they can do for their house and an extra reward for hunting.

    Veldrin
  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    Hrm, I think I wasn't entirely clear.

    The idea wasn't really to get rid of shard upkeep, but to make it a natural consequence of the system rather than a hard-coded thing. If you have a system that encourages frequent conflict and need shards to heal icons, then stockpiling them and using them remains a very necessary thing and those people definitely still get rewarded for hunting.

    The reason you need hard-coded upkeep right now is that fights are so incredibly rare that shards otherwise see no use. But it's a pretty clunky solution that makes gathering shards seem more like a chore than an active means of helping out.
    Ognog
  • JaikoJaiko Member Posts: 15 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    I like to think making suggestions that require minimal coding have the best chance of becoming real. I don't have anything to base this on - just am blindly optimistic. So what about just making icons have no financial cost and a timed delay to rebuild? Houses might be more willing to chance losing them. 
    JulesOgnog
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited January 2013
    I also support something that requires the minimum of coding if at all possible... And maybe change the perms to allow any house member to re-raise.  I'd prefer some version of the icon just being completely out of power though, with a delay before you can empower again.  I'd frankly like it to be taken completely out of leaders' hands one way or another - so they don't have the pressure of deciding to commit, which I think would *always* be a problem in cities that don't have stronger forces and/or more of a combat mentality.  The icon is there... it might be dead for a long, long time, but it's there, and when the time is right, anyone in that house can try to start fixing it, or defend it when it is powered, or not...

    Also, going off what Tael was saying - As a noncomm, raids are frankly *awesome* because there is zero risk of losing textp.  I'd heard that, but had to verify.  Don't think that was always the case?  Honestly, without things like that available, we're pretty much there for "harvesting".  Anyway, raids are great for us, but still a slightly different animal.  

    That said, I wouldn't be suggesting something that provokes more Nish conflict if I weren't willing to suffer the occasional "real" death in the service of excitement and hopefully a bit of learning, but I wouldn't want to exhaust noncomms' willingness to participate by creating a situation that demands ongoing heavy casualties from the losing side (which is one of the problems with icons right now).  I do think that the possibility of conflict for a given organization about every couple of weeks is probably good though (which is essentially what Tael is suggesting).  The only thing I don't like about his suggestion is the bit about splitting power between icons, which I see as absolutely incentivizing "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".  I see that ending with a few powerful houses teaming up every cycle and probably leaving one another's icons alone.  Not that that's not already a problem, but I think that would give them even more of a reason to team up.  Not liking that part and don't think it would end well once "jeez, why even bother" set in, as it has now.  With more conflict between all orgs, the more powerful orgs and better combatants will get more chances to kill a bunch of (probably fairly high level) noncomms every so often... that in itself is a tangible reward, really.  And hopefully, it will be fun.
    Ognog
  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of MhaldorMember Posts: 537 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    If something like @Tael's idea were implemented, I think that I would be in support of icons again. I don't want people being encouraged to do a menial, boring task like bashing unless they really want to. It detracts from leadership; it detracts from RP; it detracts from conflict; because it takes away precious game-play hours. I want RP and conflict being encouraged. I think that @Tael's idea goes a long way to accomplishing this.
    image
    KatzchenTvistorTael
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited January 2013
    I think everyone who has posted feels similarly about not completely destroying the icon.  I could go either way on eliminating regular shard maintenance... I'm not against it, but it's more of an annoyance to some, rather than something that strongly affects the issue of encouraging noncomm conflict.  But a big no on #3 or I really don't think icons will become a tool for creating ongoing icon conflict.  #3 will just create a semi-permanent buff to the icons of a few powerful houses, because it strongly encourages the houses that hold those icons to cooperate in taking down the weaker houses every cycle.  Once the weaker houses are taken out, the spoils will be enough to split, and it probably just wouldn't really be worth going after one another (as it isn't right now)... Weaker houses will probably give up trying to participate again, and back to square one.  Worse, the improved icons might actually be enough of a buff that the portion of the player base benefiting from them will fight tooth and nail against any change in the future.  Tael wants to encourage more conflict, which is what everyone here wants, but I think #3 will encourage exactly the wrong sort of cooperation instead, and be difficult to move away from once implemented.

    EDIT:  that said, he's the only person to try to tackle the problem of trying to incentivize "every org for itself" which is the ideal.  That's a really hard question.
    Katzchen
  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    That's a good point. I had been thinking about collusion between weak houses and between weak and powerful houses, but not between powerful houses, which that would incentivize too much. The thing that I think is important to avoid is making it so weak houses have absolutely no investment in the system, like it is in the current situation. I'm not sure what the solution is aside perhaps from having bonuses go to the house that's alchemists did the most damage rather than splitting the bonus between all icons.

    One of the other things I didn't mention was that having relatively low cost to destruction, incentivizing through bonuses rather than penalties, and having a frequent cycle is that it isn't such a big deal if noncoms don't participate. With icons as they are now, there's tremendous pressure to really press everyone into defence in orgs that wouldn't normally do that because the cost is so incredibly high. And changes like these still work well for orgs that regularly press everyone into defence for RP purposes - we're talking about an hour or two every week or something like that (presumably randomised such that most of the time you wouldn't even be online). As an additional benefit, frequent cycles with the number of houses we have right now means that there could be someone open to attack most of the time - so there's some alternate activity for raiders available a lot of the time. And that is, I think, key. Right now, the only thing that's more-or-less constantly available for raiders is city raiding. We don't need more big, infrequent things for raiders to do, we need more bread-and-butter activity for them.

    As for implementing more frequent cycles with no full destruction, but without a new incentive structure - I think that would be a significant mistake. Something needs to replace the current "very high cost of replacement" incentive or people are just going to hope no one attacks their icon and gently shrug when it does get knocked out for a week.
    Jules
  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited January 2013
    I made this a separate post because I think it's a fairly separate point - an alternate idea that's been bouncing around in my head nonstop since yesterday:

    Thinking on a potential way to incentivize more conflict (and something that would be easy to code), I wonder if you couldn't have the bonus be commensurate to the number of people the faction has killed in Nish with deactivation meaning that the bonus doesn't accrue.

    The bones of the idea:
    (1) While the icon is up, every kill in Nish drops an item with value equal to the normal XP worth of the kill that can be put in an icon to increase the bonus for that cycle (the bonuses should not have a cap, but diminishing returns).
    (2) The bonuses persist while the icon is deactivated, but new bonuses do not accrue.
    (3) Icons are always vulnerable, but may be repaired at any time (they reactivate when brought up to a fairly low threshhold level of health).

    The reasoning:

    This actually seems like a far more attractive option to me the more I think about it.

    In terms of coding, it should be easy to make a corpse-facscimile for this purpose (it shouldn't be the actual corpse since that would restrict usage of skills that don't leave corpses or skills that require corpses and make resurrection even more powerful). It even makes a bit of IC sense since there's a lot of "spirits of warriors" stuff involved with Nish. It actually probably involves removing more code than writing new code. And, perhaps more pointedly, I don't think that extreme conservatism is a good idea when talking about icons - the system we have right now is severely broken, most players don't enjoy it (to the extend that they've ever even experienced it), and it hardly sees any use compared to the substantial degree of complexity it presents. If ever there were a place where a little bit of coding could be justified, this is it.

    And it gives a really tangible way for bashers to contribute. A constant-vulnerability system would all but ensure that icons would be attacked during downtime (which is fine, since the cost of reactivating them when people show up and want to go on the offence is pretty low), so there would be strong demand for shards without needing any artificial demand inflation like upkeep.

    Regarding the always-vulnerable part, the threshhold to reactivate shouldn't be a single shard, but it should be fairly low such that protracted battles involve the icon going up and down repeatedly rather than one hopeless team just having their icon down for hours. It should also be easy for a group to go into Nish with a downed icon, get it up to threshhold very quickly, and go on the offensive (note that this leaves their icon vulnerable - this proposal makes balancing offence, defence, and shard supply an actual strategic issue, which is, I think, ideal).

    In terms of incentive structure, this rewards participation even if you're losing the icon fight because you have a subgoal of getting kills. Scaling it by XP value is a means of preventing people from just killing tons of newbies to farm their icon. It's also a means of keeping things balanced - the relative XP value of people is already balanced (and if we think it isn't well balanced, this at least means that relative target worth in Nish need not be independently balanced, but could benefit from any rebalancing of XP value).

    It creates a number of interesting dynamics too - there's a goal of disabling icons, but also.a subgoal of getting kills (and not getting killed). It requires a balance of offence and defence and logistical support from bashers for shards. If a lot of people are in Nish, there's an incentive to go in and try to increase your icon's bonus and if there aren't, there's an incentive to go in and knock down someone's icon while there aren't a ton of defenders, which in turn puts people in Nish, which brings you back around to going in to try to get kills.

    In essence, it makes Nish what it seemed to be aiming for when it was introduced (or at least what I assumed to be its aim) - a place where you can go to do group combat without the collateral damage of raids and without the same degree of dependence on the current political situation. It gives people who like group combat in the game something to do during the times when raids don't make political sense or the tanks are already empty or the teams are too stacked, without bothering people who aren't interested in that aspect of the game. Those people who are uninterested still have to contend with raids (which is a good thing), which are presently limited by tank availability (also a good thing), but there's still a place for group combatants to go after they've done that (aside from going and burning a bunch of forests I suppose). I don't have to see so many clan messages that say "tanks empty oh my god I'm so bored".

    Using a corpse-like system with residue that decays in, say, five minutes, also means that endless area and LoS are discouraged compared to their oft-lamented status in the current raid system. It also opens room for mobile and sneaky people to participate without being particularly good at combat themselves, which is something that in my own entirely biased opinion the game doesn't presently cater to enough.
    Jules
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    Still taking this in :P  You've certain put some thought into it either way.
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    After a long work day and a good sleep, I read this @Tael, and I like it a lot.
  • SilasSilas Member Posts: 2,549 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I like Icons as they are, personally. They show very clearly which city/alliance (do Hashan have Icons?) is currently on top, but the balance of power can shift at any moment. *shallam rose to ascendancy under the Qashar, and it's certainly possible that, as suggested by Vaehl, they could do so again (and perhaps sustain it this time) under Deucora.

    The battles on Nishnatoba themselves are good because they're short and the defenders have the advantage in choosing a phase that suits their members for defence - something city raids do not offer - and because Nish is, as Bluji said, Free PK and thus anybody there knows exactly what they're getting into, and cause counting and bad blood tends to be left at the door.

    Also, I just recently saw the sheer amount of gold lying unused in *shallam's coffers, and looked into the bank balances of the city's Houses. Two million is a pittance.

    Of course, I'd never object to additional avenues of conflict being introduced, but Icons are in a pretty good place. Making them so they cannot be destroyed would leave them even less iconic than they currently are, and given that's their biggest weakness (compounded by the incredibly lacklustre way in which they were introduced) I don't think it's something that we should be looking to worsen.

  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited January 2013
    Yeah, to be honest I don't think it's just the gold - it's the idea that gets wrapped up in that, and that the HL has to think about putting a new one up "politically", both with his house and with the city as a whole, with his fellow leaders, all of it...  EDIT:  i.e. it's the implied sense of commitment to defend the icon with pretty much everything the city has, with lots and lots of player deaths if you're on the losing end.  

    The second paragraph of your post is why I'm so especially fond of icons/Nish, and want some way of accessing that kind of conflict again, and why I feel similarly to you and Blujixapug, and really, I think most everyone - from my OP:  "I absolutely loved the free PK aspect of Nish as a noncombatant when I was in Mhaldor.  It was a way for someone like me to dabble in real conflict with a built-in eject button."  And yes, not only do city raids not offer the chance to choose a time, but they're kind of a different sort of combat (city defences).  I'm not deadset on it being icons, but I would like more free PK opportunities, and especially ones that tend to include noncoms.
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited January 2013
    Just got back from a little trip to Nish, because a little Stymphalian bird told me to :P  I'd forgotten what a huge area it is.  So much room for activities!

    A Stymphalian bird tells you, "Armsman, report to Nishnatoba posthaste and I will spare your city from destruction."

    A Stymphalian bird tells you, "Armsman, you confuse Me why you would be trying to communicate with a foolish clown when your city state is at risk."

    *flap*

    BonkoAntidasTvistor
  • SilasSilas Member Posts: 2,549 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Jules said:
    Yeah, to be honest I don't think it's just the gold - it's the idea that gets wrapped up in that, and that the HL has to think about putting a new one up "politically", both with his house and with the city as a whole, with his fellow leaders, all of it...  EDIT:  i.e. it's the implied sense of commitment to defend the icon with pretty much everything the city has, with lots and lots of player deaths if you're on the losing end.
    These are all good things that the game could use more of. High pressure decisions keep politics interesting.

    To be honest, though, I'm curious how they're going to rework shrines. I imagine they'll be a much more viable conflict starter once they're done, and will offer out of city avenues for skirmishes that have a definite goal and thus an end-point.

  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    Silas said:
    Jules said:
    Yeah, to be honest I don't think it's just the gold - it's the idea that gets wrapped up in that, and that the HL has to think about putting a new one up "politically", both with his house and with the city as a whole, with his fellow leaders, all of it...  EDIT:  i.e. it's the implied sense of commitment to defend the icon with pretty much everything the city has, with lots and lots of player deaths if you're on the losing end.
    These are all good things that the game could use more of. High pressure decisions keep politics interesting.

    To be honest, though, I'm curious how they're going to rework shrines. I imagine they'll be a much more viable conflict starter once they're done, and will offer out of city avenues for skirmishes that have a definite goal and thus an end-point.
    I think the problem right now is that it isn't a high-pressure decision. The decision doesn't even come up - it's not the expense, it's the hassle associated with the icon. It's not about a costly decision, it's about whether players are going to be whiny about introducing something they're expected to maintain and defend.

    I really don't think the icons are fine as is, nor that they are not "iconic" enough, clever as that is linguistically. I think something like the icons would be fine for the purposes you describe of acting as a glorified scoreboard, but the current incarnation is an intricate system for conflict that doesn't generate conflict. That's what bugs me about it.

    But hey, if you wanted to keep the current icons (maybe minus upkeep, which is I think a big part of resistance to putting them up) and stick something like the above in on top, that'd be fine too.

    In fact, that might be kind of neat. Take the above system with activation/deactivation, kills, and bonuses and keep the current system too. So icons are normally just deactivated, but there's a window of opportunity to actually destroy them. Having an actual system of gameplay and conflict tied to them would provide a lot more incentive to put destroyed icons back up.
  • SilasSilas Member Posts: 2,549 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Tael said:
    Silas said:
    Jules said:
    Yeah, to be honest I don't think it's just the gold - it's the idea that gets wrapped up in that, and that the HL has to think about putting a new one up "politically", both with his house and with the city as a whole, with his fellow leaders, all of it...  EDIT:  i.e. it's the implied sense of commitment to defend the icon with pretty much everything the city has, with lots and lots of player deaths if you're on the losing end.
    These are all good things that the game could use more of. High pressure decisions keep politics interesting.

    To be honest, though, I'm curious how they're going to rework shrines. I imagine they'll be a much more viable conflict starter once they're done, and will offer out of city avenues for skirmishes that have a definite goal and thus an end-point.
    I think the problem right now is that it isn't a high-pressure decision. The decision doesn't even come up - it's not the expense, it's the hassle associated with the icon. It's not about a costly decision, it's about whether players are going to be whiny about introducing something they're expected to maintain and defend.

    I really don't think the icons are fine as is, nor that they are not "iconic" enough, clever as that is linguistically. I think something like the icons would be fine for the purposes you describe of acting as a glorified scoreboard, but the current incarnation is an intricate system for conflict that doesn't generate conflict. That's what bugs me about it.
    In fairness, a lot of these problems fall on a timid playerbase rather than a lack of creativity from the admins. People are way too quick to just stick to the status quo and never try anything new for fear they might fail.

    I remember when *shallam re-raised their Icons. For years before, everybody had adopted the attitude of just not bothering, but we managed to get them up and maintain them for a good while before I dun got Lorielan'd and the Qashar fell apart.

    Idk, I mean, I understand what you're saying, and I do like some of the ideas you've proposed, but I think Icons as you propose would promote the sense of entitlement that is slowly overtaking the playerbase. People think they're entitled to shrines, Icons, bashing in UW/Annwyn unmolested and all sorts of other crazy things. That's why I'd rather Icons were left alone, and another brand new conflict system added to give people more reliable avenues to use the skills they've (generally) paid hundreds of credits for away from the tedium of cities/guards/totems.

    Tael
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