Let's face it, extermination is an incredible game mechanic that is absolutely necessary for the game. Things would be incredibly boring without some kind of bad guy, and as much as Mhaldorians are hated, they do provide the game with incredible interactions that are absolutely necessary for Achaea to remain interesting.
Exterminations are, in my view, a mechanism through which a player can say something like: "I wan't a fight, not just a spar, but a legitimate RP fight, and I want this RP to have consequence both for my character and those I play with!". This kind of thing is critical for a game like Achaea, and absolutely necessary for the continued conflict between forestalls and necromancy users.
The problem here, is that some players can not see the difference between using it as a tool for RP and being an OOC troll with it. So, I've spent a bit of time to see if I can't gather my wits on it, and provide something of a mechanic that would retain the current conflict, while removing the potential for being a OOC troll.
Each one of these ideas, is meant to be a balancing mechanism in and of itself. Not all of them are required, only one should do.
My first suggestion is a completely defensive one, and probably the most realistic/interesting.
1. Counter extermination potential through preservation.
Currently, a preserved grove can not be exterminated. Alter this, so that a Groves user can preserve multiple forest areas, not just his/her grove.
In order to make sure one will never be in a a situation where every single forest area is preserved, I suggest that this is done through porting one's grove, and preserving that ported spot.
Yes, this basically boils down to a forest area remaining preserved for the year, after the ported-grove through which it was preserved, unifies.
I find this a workable mechanic because:
1. Only trans groves users will be able to do this because of the porting requirement.
2. The sheer cost in quarterstaffs will prevent the over use of this ability.
3. The sheer cost in time/planning, will require a dedicated forestall player.
4. This mechanism allows for Exterminations and Rejuvenations to remain un-changed.
As a side note, I think this will also drive sales of the Yggdrasian Splinter. It isn't exactly stellar in use right now, because it's little more than a quarterstaff that doesn't decay. Having a quarterstaff that allows you to bypass the cost of sunlight in obtaining one from your grove, will make the item a little more attractive to players.
2. Improve Rejuvenation and reduce it's cost
I've suggested this elsewhere, but don't know how realistic it is.
This idea boils down to the removal of material cost for doing a rejuvenation, and replanting. i.e. The act of rejuvenating a room, no longer requires elemental ice, while also replanting the room with at least one of each plant tipe.
I find this idea balanced because: It's a direct counter to players doing exterminations for the purposes of trolling. In that it caries no cost in either material or time. i.e. Rejuvenations become as easy as exterminations, with similar costs involved.
3. Add a cost to doing exterminations
This boils down to making exterminations as expensive in time and material as rejuvenations are.
i.e. Change Exterminations so that it requires Elemental Fire in order to do, set the scarcity and gold cost of Elemental Fire, to be the same as elemental ice, and balance will be achieved naturally.
Yes, this does mean that the one wanting to troll, can still do it, but at least there is a curb involved and the number of exterminations are limited to the availability of Elemental Fire.
i.e. Exterminations become as expensive as rejuvenations.
In order to add the time expense, one builds in the requirement for a longer time lapse. Currently it takes around a minute to replant a room if all things are available and set. So, increasing the time it takes to do an extermination, while still maintaining the detection times on Oakstone side as they are currently, will balance the time costs of Rejuvenating.
I see this working as follows:
1. The first portion of the RL minute is a preparation stage.
2. The second portion is the actual extermination as it exists in it's current form.
i.e. Okstone detection remains exactly as it is now, only detectable in step two above. With step one being suffered as a meditation/mental preparation for the actual act of extermination.