The September Report – part 3

In this third part, we explore the (as of writing last) week, and the events that transpired. Have fun!

And long united they must unite, the end of a golden era – Third Week (September 1 – September 7)

Capitol Skyline, September 3 (Day 17)

During the third week, as we geared up our industrialization efforts, we saw an exponential increase in traffic going both ways between the capital and the Costa del Sol. Chief among our modernization efforts saw rise to asphalted roads, which given the tumultuous terrain between the two towns, saw frequent upheavals – not in the least because of differing visions as to how smooth the ride would be and thus what proportion ramps would take up.

While initially the roads would simply go up and down as the terrain did, it was later agreed upon to flatten the terrain more, reaching a common elevation point and removing unnecessary ramps if all they did was raise a few blocks, only to lower a bit further down the road (no pun intended). Of course, shock ensued as people had to watch which of the two lanes in place would get them to their destination safely.

Meanwhile, as asphalt production meant a steady stream of government-funded road payments, we saw the rise of a second box on top of the car dealer – a retrofitting of the original Mechanics workshop to additionally house the workplace needed for Industry and Electronics through the use of reinforced concrete and framed glass.

As the returning chef would later lament, having two wider-than-usual avenues, being 3 and 4 plots wide, meant there was plenty of room for ornamentation, which was further worked on by including loads of planter pots in designated planter boxes, as well as a centerpiece along The Phoenixway in the form of a fountain, formed by having two open pipe ends and spreading over a brick aqueduct floor.

It was during this week that we saw the leapfrogging mechanism pan out in unexpected ways, as it sparked debate as to how we would proceed with the economy now that a lot of impetus for a high margin for one-off goods died down.

While the results of that discussion go beyond the scope of this report, we at MaiestasHaven hope this extensive report has given you, the reader, a glimpse into what went on in the server since we started this cycle prior to the launch of 8.3. We hope that in the future we get to welcome even more people to our humble neck of the woods, and enable multiple sets of players to provide much-needed competition in some of our more entrenched positions.

The September Report – part 2

In this second part, we explore the second week, which saw quite an upheaval in our political landscape. Read on!

Long united they must separate; fascinating times – Second Week (August 25 – August 31)

Capitol Skyline, August 29 (Day 12).

This week held much joy and much sorrow for the playerbase, not long after the discovery of cooking did we lose Belgareth1987, our only cook at the time, to an untimely computer breakdown. Through sheer luck, we were able to find a new chef in less than a day and Belgareth1987 had enough queued to be able to maintain the speed of progression until Holuo was caught up, thanks to the community’s efforts in leapfrogging his skill.

Leapfrogging and social redundancy

The concept of leapfrogging was first tested in earnest with a Day 5 joiner named Acularius. As a streamer who will be actively testing all Eco has to offer, the community suggested he try out the path of a mason, but at the time there were already 2 masons with expertise in mortaring. Bricklaying was a relatively newly-researched technology then and the masons were still awaiting the skill point to assign to it, hence Acularius was advised to immediately put his point into bricklaying, with the absence of mortaring.

As bricks regularly required mortar to fabricate, that meant that mortaring skill is a silent prerequisite for independent production. Furthermore, the bricklayer needed a Tier 1 workshop with kilns to begin production – all of these translated to significant investment, to which the city and private citizens (including fellow masons) have generously provided financial and material support. At first, this proved to be good business for all, as extra mortar produced by other masons were put to use by the bricklayer while both materials were in healthy demand all around. Furthermore, as players had to remodel their homes and shops, having a redundant alternative meant a stable supply of goods.

Similarly, it was the leapfrogging plan and the supportive community environment that allowed newcomers to quickly become useful and competitive on the market within a day or two in other fields, and proved particularly value when players dropped out into inactivity. Belgareth1987, originally slated as the capitol’s smith, changed to chef when the originally planned player abandoned after Day 1. With the computer fault putting him out of commission for a week, the newcomer player Holuo who arrived on the server within the hour after the news broke out was trained and equipped by the efforts of the townsfolk in both then South Town (later Costa del Sol) and the Capitol, and exceeded his predecessor’s capabilities in short order.

As anyone who has ever played Engineer beyond Basic Engineering can attest to, having the funds available for the Mechanics workshop when materials are expensive due to lack of efficiency, not to mention the sheer amount of iron needed to produce the workstations, it is a daunting task to be faced with such a prospect unless you have had the opportunity to build up capital to offset the investment. As virtually all income the engineer acquires (in our server, with government-paid roadwork)  is through stamping dirt roads, clearing terrain and building wood carts. By its very nature that is a one-off, non-recurring source of income that has to be recognized and paid for manually by the government, leaving late joiners with less opportunity to get the needed assets. To combat this situation, we’ve introduced a ‘rental’ service, where we use the Credit component of the Engineer workshop for Mechanics, Industry and Electronics to pay a flat fee per minute to on one hand recoup investment for the owner, while providing a much more favorable prospect for any prospective Engineers to get started on building things of their own.

We hope this is used more often on servers, as we believe it is one of the major reasons people currently do not wish to join a server beyond the first week – enabling people to leapfrog into the latest technology and being able to slot into the economy at large from the onset, rather than to put people behind an ‘investment wall’ just to get started. After all, one prospers only if all prosper, and providing true equality of opportunity is one step in the right direction.

The thankless job of bureaucracy

With total power collected in the control of the seat of government, bank, and library, Sovereign Satsuki Shizuka was conscious of the responsibility such converged powers bring. At the same time, this also brings all dissent and unrest onto one person.

With the onset of mechanics and the foreseeable need of a large workshop, the mechanic needed to raise a huge amount of capital for the building as well as the iron to produce the infrastructure and as input material. With his retail income limited to the scant sales of mechanic power sources and carts, the main source of income laid in wages for public roadwork. This led to an intense drain of the state treasury, often leaving it empty and even in debt. By now, a graduated daily tax system was in place for the Minori where tax rates increased depending on the balance of a player’s currency holdings, but even that was insufficient.

To prevent rampant inflation and making having money meaningless, Sovereign Satsuki promised a circulation limit of 100,000 Minori per active player, which at the time was more than twice the existing amount minted. Despite the Minori was pressed out of wood pulp (chosen to represent economic activity as it is a byproduct of logging, for materials or as fuel), even this common and “cheap” specie material presented a two-way problem that led to its dire shortage: The player base was expanding, while other material demands were constricting supply for specie. While the central bank openly buys wood pulp from loggers at a premium for minting (a feature appreciated by many freelancing loggers), pulp was used at the time to inefficiently produce paper, and sometimes as an alternative ingredient for mortar, as a result of exceeding demand in the ongoing masonry price war. While on other servers paper would be a relatively pointless good usually used strictly for currency or the occasional bookshelf, Maiestas Haven has developed a unique use of paper for the Plaster Block, one of the bricklayer’s most sought after building products. As a result, the currency was at great risk of deflation.

With raising the graduated daily tax system certain to be too much a burden the general populace, the Sovereignty was eager to increase tax sources, as well as exploit new supplies of money. With gold ore being extremely rare resource with contemporary mining activity, the government pushed its limited resources to commission a treasury, opening the opportunity for sales and transfers tax. While the 2% sales tax was widely accepted, the 1% internal and public transfer tax was considered a nuisance and later also contributed to dissent against the Sovereign. Nonetheless, this new tax alleviated the strain on the government’s coffers by providing a steady, continuous stream of income.

Establishing a bank and registrar allowed citizens to incorporate into financial and associative entities. Sans Tark and NNmike of South Town, under the expertise and instruction of Praefator, incorporated Dwarven Industries at the first opportunity, which will have significant political implications for the coming weeks.

Asides from engineer Praefator, other citizens may also take to dirt road paving as a side job for extra income or as a service for the community. Roadwork manpower at the time was stretched thin, as many supposed roads in the capitol were still overgrown in tall grass or even entire impassable hills of dirt and stone, and requests for roads stretched both east and south towards the satellites. While the government diligently keeps up with paying all requests for wages, newcomers to the system often forget to report or even to keep records of their work, and often feel left out or alone in the colossal prospects of such a long distance. With the Capitol completely occupied with current or recently abandoned residents (at the time, the Abandonment Law has yet to be enacted and lands have yet to be reclaimed), many new players were redirected to Lute Lake, situated in the forest, at the (then) end of the Eastern Imperial Road, halfway between the proposed clay/shale mine in the rainforest and the city. With bricks and plaster in great demand but no dedicated exploitation for its raw resources, more labour was put into the Eastern road project compared to the Southern road project. With only half the distance to cover, completely straight, and less elevation corrections, the Eastern road was made serviceable within the week. This, however, drew ire and jealousy of the southern residents and saw it as further favoritism by the capitol and its administration.

Factionalism, and threat of community schism – the Southern Road Incident

At the same time, tensions between the two burgeoning towns came to a climax, ultimately concluding with a new election which would change the course of the server for the better.

Although it required a significant rework of our inter-townroads, including having to remodel a house situated in harm’s way, Praefator made good on his campaign promise (a rare thing for a politician!) by working with the affected parties to correct the road and ensure the two towns had a suitable, double-laned road to encourage trade.

In terms of overall progress, in this second week we saw a lot of industrialization happening, with the Mechanics workshop going up in the Capitol, as well as vastly increasing iron bar production, and introducing our hallmark second currency, dubbed the ‘Tongbao’ (or “circulating treasure”), with mixed feelings towards its name compared to the previous “Regal”.

On the other hand, we formalized recognizing the southern town as a full-fledged town in its own right, naming it Costa del Sol with Sans Tark as its leader, and having a double-laned road due to the increased strain the sight of steam trucks would otherwise put on our fledgling roads.

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The September 2019 Report

Welcome back!

After a bit of a hiatus, recent events have prompted us to once again resume posting on the blog. Enjoy!

This last week, we were approached by Dennis, as he wanted us to be featured in an upcoming Eco Peaks newsletter. As it required us to explain about our server in more detail, including current/future government and economic systems, as well as what we have been up to lately, below you’ll find just that – our recap of past events. Here’s to plenty more good times and memories!

Breaking the ground – First Week (August 17 – August 24)

Administrator’s Bridge and Humble Administrator’s Gate prior to its stone signs, August 20 (Day 3)

The first week starts the same as most other servers out there with just a few small exceptions – as a community we prioritise the clearing of major pathways between the plots to ensure there is easy accessibility across the Capitol and where possible make travel to any outlying settlers. The basic road pattern is claimed by staff before the server is officially opened to players; this ensures a neat and tidy foundation and imparts a sense of structure and order on the early parts of the game which can often seem wild and messy.

As the start began in an area in the total absence of trees, gaining access to a logging source was of paramount importance. The pre-built bank became an early point of social gathering as early arrangements for buying and selling wood, stone, and wood pulp quickly forwarded the building of basic production infrastructure and the construction of Administrator’s Bridge, which linked the city with its chief economic exploitation. From a narrow 3-wide hewn log platform, the bridge quickly grew to become a 7-wide, semi-unfinished causeway which was then finished in the next week as an 8-wide avenue with guard railings, protecting drivers from the river below. While this was considered the secondary eastern exit from the city, Administrator’s Bridge and the adjoining Eastern Imperial Road soon became one of the most travelled hand cart routes in the era.

Early on this round we had Sans Tark and company settle to what was then the far south. This meant a lot of work for Praefator and Brume (our primary roadworkers) to ensure that an easy travel route was stamped out through the desert. Although not a new experience for the server, having an outlying town was a first for some of our standard player base, and certainly something that has not happened in a couple of rounds. Sans Tark and company were soon to show their worth, mentoring those who had taken up professions for the first time and providing an excellent onboarding experience.

Starting the long walk and dreaming big

Farming locations were scouted by Magana to secure consistent provision of essential foodstuff to our burgeoning new Chef, Belgareth1987, who had a voracious appetite for raw resources to feed the growing workforce and the high calorie demands of early gameplay. As the week progressed, small copses of crops turned into large open fields as the demand grew with the discovery of advanced campfire cooking, as well as the discovery that the southern continent was partial to bulk buying.

Despite limited to basic hewn logs and stone, players fleshed out the starts of their houses showing off everybody’s unique styles: Satsuki (the first  Sovereign, the title of the elected World Leader) went with her iconic Chinese inspired Satsuki Tower, Praefator adopting his neoclassical style in a (in terms of Praefator’s previous builds), a much smaller build weighing in at 11 by 5 plots; the size of two 5 by 5 plots separated by a road. Belgareth1987 weighed in with a Roman-esque villa and Bartleby brought a new style to the server with his ultramodern highrise building “The Voxel Warehouse.”

Despite the style differences, the standardized plot size and Capitol building guidelines made it so that all of these different design ideas fit into what would eventually become a diverse and beautiful landscape.

When plans go awry

Despite our hard work in pre-planning the world, no plan can account for everything: in our case our enemy was the land itself. Roads had to start by being carved out of the side of hills just wide enough to let the carts pass single file. The Phoenixway, our main north/south road was forged beyond the walls of the Capitol by Brume.

This massive 4 plot wide roadway thinning down to 2 plots just beyond the city walls was the cause of many issues. Due to a lack of manpower this road construction stalled, planting the seeds of dissent in the southern settlement, chief among those feelings of resentment and envy arose. Calls of Capitol favouritism rang through the chat.

Competition is good for business

An unexpected side-effect of the prospect of two separate towns was the start of a price war (a first for our server), in which a race to the bottom occurred to present prospective buyers with the mortar they needed at the lowest possible rate, due to the abundance of supply through multiple people with the Mortaring profession. The differences in distance, types of stone offered, and aesthetic demands of the two markets soon led to a flourishing trade that pioneered the first building boom. In this era, numerous technologies were completed on a daily basis and became widely available through the public library building across from the Central Bank, and people prospered from contributing materials for research to the state at 150% of market prices. It was this state intervention that bought much of the new artisans’ inefficiently produced goods, allowing them to develop their businesses in a continual pace.

Research and Bank – Foundations of society beyond government

As soon as the world leader was first elected and the treasury was established, all new currency was printed directly into the treasury rather than into the personal accounts of the exchequer. Besides paying a backlog of road-paving expenditures, the bank immediately financed the construction of a government-owned building dedicated for technological research. With a stockpile in its basement and numerous chests to store the plethora of research materials, books, and scrolls, materials flowed through an actively-managed store that linked to the treasury. The library actively bought materials used in current research, and sold technology scrolls to everyone at token prices. This allowed for a regulated and organized management of knowledge and scrolls which all had similar looks and often misplaced by users who had direct access to the shelves.

While in the first days of Maiestas Haven, the government, central bank, and library are all managed by the central control of the Sovereign, this was the exception rather than the norm — as Sovereign Satsuki Shizuka has written at length, the separation of these three estates to different caretakers helps keep society responsible and in balance. As events in the next week will prove, having the world leader, bank exchequer, and other government and public officials as separate individuals is crucial in ensuring that the currency is in control from inflation or deflation, the laws are relevant and taxes responsibly spent, and research is diligently scheduled and managed.

While Eco promises multiple government mechanics in the future, present conditions already allow for multiple ‘government’ polities with these extrajudicial premises and estates. As servers become more populated and form groups, multiple ‘governments’ competing and collaborating with each other will undoubtedly add to the thrill and fun of the cycle’s experience.

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