|Update: In Perpetuity|
May 8, 2020
Several systems that required repeated manual intervention for trans-generational propagation have now been made automatic by default. In the past, these systems were rarely used, in part because of maintaining them long-term was almost impossible (one weak link in the chain, in some future generation, caused the whole thing to fall apart).
If you die as the last owner of a property gate, instead of the gate collapsing, ownership now passes to your oldest family heir. This is your oldest child, grandchild, or great grandchild, if you have any, or your oldest, closest relative otherwise. To prevent gates from hanging around forever, even if they're no longer wanted, owners now have the power to remove them at will. When you inherit property, you get a DING message explaining the situation, and an arrow pointing back to it.
If a leader dies with no chosen heir (they can chose one by following someone before death), their oldest follower takes over for them as leader. All their other followers automatically switch to following this new leader, and get arrows pointing toward them. The new leader gets a DING message informing them of the situation.
Combined with the fact that babies follow their mother's leader by default, and babies of leaderless mothers follow their own mother by default, leadership will be the default condition throughout the game. People can still opt out by following someone else or intentionally following no one, so truly bad leaders that inherit their power can be easily removed from office. Furthermore, since most people in a family will follow the same leader by default, there's now a reliable way to mark bad actors through exile (when the top leader exiles someone, everyone will see it). And that leads us to the next tie-in.
In the arms race against murder sprees committed by coordinated teams of griefers, killing has become harder and harder. The posse system worked to prevent unilateral, unjustified killing. However, it also demanded organization on the part of the players to carry out consensus-based, justified killing. This organization, for a group of strangers working together through in-game chat, is tough. But a griefer team, working through voice chat, can easily meet the required level of organization.
The required posse size has been climbing to combat this, and the griefer teams have been growing in size along with it. Meanwhile, necessary killing in the game (to stop non-killing griefing) has become almost impossible. If 8 people are required to form a posse, you have to get 8 random strangers on the same page, at the same time, about what they are trying to do.
What is the actual goal here? We're trying to prevent the minority from pestering the majority with nuisance killing. We can assume, hopefully, that any team of griefers will be smaller than the group of non-griefer players in a village. How do we give the larger group the power to both avoid getting killed by the smaller group, and also the power to kill easily when necessary? A large enough posse requirement protects the majority from being killed, but it makes it way too hard for them to kill.
And just a quick aside: if you haven't been following this game's growth closely, you might be thinking, "Why is there killing in this game at all? Just remove it!" But then what happens when someone keeps moving your tools right when you go to use them? What happens when someone steals your horse and won't give it back? There are endless ways for one player to irritate other players. Killing is supposed to be the way the group says, "enough is enough."
But how do we know who the majority is, so that we can give them that power?
This week, I'm testing a new idea: your group is defined by the leadership tree that you are part of. If you are part of a big group, you can't be killed easily. If you are not part of a big group, you are fair game for anyone to kill. You inherit (or choose) which group you are part of based on which leader you are following. But leaders have the power to remove you from their group, and relegate you to your own defenses, through exile.
In detail, we count up your allies (those that see you as part of their group) and your enemies (those that see you as exiled). If you have at least as many nearby allies as enemies, you can't be solo killed, and a large posse is required to get you. However, if you have more nearby enemies than allies, anyone is free to solo kill you.
A small team of griefers might be able to form their own leadership tree and thus have a few allies each, and they might be able to exile you, giving you a few enemies. But as long as you are part of a larger group of allies, you will be immune to their attacks. Furthermore, if your group exiles them, they will have a lot of enemies, and be easily dispatched.
Also, if trouble crops up within your own ranks, all the top leader needs to do is exile that bad seed, and then anyone in the village can take care of the problem.
(Feels strange to be talking in euphemisms like a mob boss....)
Combined with the fact that everyone will be part of a leadership tree by default, and we can see that everyone will be protected by default. The ally pool will be manually shifted around as needed, through exiling and changing leadership, to deal with problems as they arise.
Finally, if you try to kill someone who is protected by allies, thus requiring a large posse, you get an arrow back to their top leader, so you know who to petition to exile them.
Yes, there will be times when talking the leader into exiling a legitimate troublemaker doesn't work out, but it will be much simpler to accomplish than trying to get 5 strangers to act in unison to form a posse.