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#1 2013-05-07 21:16:53

Blip
Member
Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Abandoned Houses

I recently realized how much of the money that enters the CD economy is from people robbing abandoned houses that simply produce money via their hourly wages. This allows people to attain wealth without trying to rob houses with functioning traps (or any traps for that matter). Whether this is a good thing is a matter of opinion, but I believe that these abandoned houses are the cause of the viability of the "only rob the poor" strategy that many use once they have a house they don't want to lose. I believe a possible fix would be to make houses disappear from the list after being robbed successfully a certain amount of times without the owner logging on.

Any thoughts?


Current life: Not dead, but I have no clue who I am
The Life and Times of Christopher Alvin Harris
Record: 149 Paintings!

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#2 2013-05-07 21:27:42

realitysconcierge
Member
Registered: 2013-05-06
Posts: 29

Re: Abandoned Houses

I don't have any thoughts, but I would like to say that this is literally the only thing I do once I make any sort of house with some effort.

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#3 2013-05-08 10:39:44

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Abandoned Houses

Yeah, this is a huge problem.  It's really just a very tedious kind of grinding (like killing sewer rats over and over to level up).

The money earning thing was originally put in place to make sure there was always something to do, no matter how many players were playing.  Otherwise, if only a few people are playing, the house list is quickly filled with a bunch of $0s.

Also, other players would "spend down" to push themselves to the bottom of the list, but build a good house down there, and kindof just hide there.  The money earning means they will eventually rise back to the top.  This also makes houses that become more difficult (or impossible) post-robbery still attractive robbery targets (they eventually float back to the top).

But this is clearly something that needs some kind of adjustment.  Thinking about it!

Actually, it's pretty easy for me to adjust on the server-side.  I can set the money earned to whatever I want.  I'll try turning it off for a few days and see what happens.  Maybe we have enough critical mass now that this isn't needed anymore...

Also, it could be that you only earn money as long as your house has not been robbed since you last edited it.  So a house that is abandoned stops earning money after it is robbed once.

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#4 2013-05-08 11:43:36

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Abandoned Houses

Okay, server has been changed to only pay salary to houses that have not been successfully robbed since their last edit.

Currently, there are only about 30 houses that meet this criteria.  There were 700 that didn't meet this criteria but were getting paid before.

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#5 2013-05-08 13:42:10

realitysconcierge
Member
Registered: 2013-05-06
Posts: 29

Re: Abandoned Houses

Holy crap that's a big difference. I wonder what the game would look like if we got paid ludicrously high salaries? tongue

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#6 2013-05-09 09:02:07

setz
Member
From: NM
Registered: 2013-04-03
Posts: 121
Website

Re: Abandoned Houses

Here's the problem I see with now getting rid of/lowering Abandoned Houses salary. Sorry for the longwinded(longtyped?)ness...

The last couple weeks playing this game I have realized that there are these houses that have small amounts of money $300-$600 that all regenerate to the same amount. They are pretty easy to get to the vault because ALMOST everything is broken/dead. Even though ultimately I have died doing this as well as sometimes the house isn't completely broken. I even started a thread about it (http://thecastledoctrine.net/forums/vie … php?id=234) because at first I was very confused. You see, these houses have been a great way for me to make money over the last couple weeks. They changed the game from the bit-lock/magic dance grind that the game had become into something a bit more fun, at least for me. I could attempt to break into a handful of these Abandoned Houses and make a good chunk of change ($2000-$5000) over time and actually start a good house. I know these technique may seem "broken" and a way of exploiting the game but I also see bit-locks as broken. You see right now people, myself included, just wait for O Houses ($2000 0/0) to become available and just snatch up the $2000. So pretty much either you are on top of the leader-boards or you are spending your first $2000 on random items so your house isn't an O House that even pounces on and then you constantly attempt to break in to a top house. I have been playing this game everyday and an avid reader/poster here on the forums so I see myself as a knowledgeable community member here and not just bias. There are a certain number of "go-to" designs that people have begun to adopt and you pretty much see on the top page of the leader-board every time and that to me seems more "broken" then houses that have been abandoned. Now I know that Jason is going for an aesthetic here and when he has addressed problems or concerns here on the forums things are often compared to how they actually would take place in the real world, a reasoning that I actually love. There are definitely abandoned houses in real life but they don't keep regenerating money, so maybe ultimately getting rid of a salary at all would be something to try? (Sidenote** I know that Jason is working on ALOT of updates and fixing alot of things for v.6 so please dont take this long paragraph as a rant, because it absolutely ISNT. I have truly been enjoying this game everyday and feel as if these forums have been a great way to start discussions and that is all I am trying to do.)

Last edited by setz (2013-05-10 07:35:42)

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#7 2013-05-09 13:43:04

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Abandoned Houses

Good point, Setz, there are certainly some interesting abandoned houses.  I just went through one myself, going after $240 or something, that was indeed very tense and cool.  Seemed totally de-toothed by previous robbers, but then I found myself in this very scary maze, and uncertain about whether I'd come out alive.  A nice "press your luck" feeling.

What I'm more worried about are the abandoned houses that are empty except for a safe, or are only half-built.  The ones that have 0 deaths.  Those were still earning money, too.  And it is indeed weird to hinge salary on death-count in an abandoned house.  It makes sense that salary is earned only by people who are still playing the game in some way (even if they are playing by designing a really good house that no one has gotten through yet).

Salary was originally added as a kind of band-aid for an over-time money drain problem.  Money only enters the system when someone dies and starts a new life (+ $2000).  But over time, people spend money on tools and house stuff.... the average person WANTS to spend more than $2000 on their house.  So, the amount of money in the system shrinks, in general.  A rich person dying with a bunch of money adds to it.  And then the game becomes paralyzed.

There needs to be some slow drip of money into the system beyond what is injected every time someone starts a new life (because they will likely spend all of that on their house, anyway).

And yes, one-in-a-million guessing game houses are really broken!  Those will be fixed soon by maps.

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#8 2013-05-09 20:17:53

realitysconcierge
Member
Registered: 2013-05-06
Posts: 29

Re: Abandoned Houses

I would love to see what sort of devious house designs you come up with Mr. Rohrer!

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#9 2013-05-10 07:39:08

setz
Member
From: NM
Registered: 2013-04-03
Posts: 121
Website

Re: Abandoned Houses

Awesome feedback Jason and as usual great reasoning and explanation of what you are going for...Thanks!

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#10 2013-05-10 07:46:06

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Abandoned Houses

The rob list sure is a ghost town now though.....

...I mean before it was a graveyard.  I kinda enjoyed digging up graves and reaping the rewards.

Maybe some middle ground is possible?

Last edited by dalleck (2013-05-10 07:47:10)


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#11 2013-05-11 22:45:50

timsamoff
Member
From: Southern California
Registered: 2013-04-03
Posts: 18
Website

Re: Abandoned Houses

I agree with Dalleck here... The current state of abandoned houses and $0 return is pretty bad. And, here's my main problem:

If I use close to $2000 to build a house, I have nothing left for tools -- so I can't even try to rob anyone. Then, in the process, my ouse gets robbed, because I couldn't get enough money to fortify my house better. So, I have to commit suicide just to start again -- since I can't even get enough money to fix my house.

Anyway...

Last edited by timsamoff (2013-05-11 22:45:59)

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#12 2013-05-12 01:47:40

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Abandoned Houses

... and to follow on from timsamoff here, the only secure house you can generally build for your starting cash is a electric floor yawnfest, and if you opt for a more interesting maze you then need to keep your wealth at $0 and wait forever to actually finish it because there are no basic houses out there to rob.


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#13 2013-05-12 07:22:44

Simoon
Member
Registered: 2013-05-12
Posts: 31

Re: Abandoned Houses

Hi everyone and thanks a lot to Jason for this wonderful game. smile

About the drip of money into the system :

Not being able to farm a bit is quite painful when you take a fresh start.

This will probably be even harder with the maps : a complex house should cost something around $15k like the current top ranked houses. We are far from the ~$1400 needed for a basic magic dance (x10 !).

Could we imagine some kind of “Non Player Characters” houses as a possible middle ground ?
Theses generated houses (automatically or submitted by users) could have a random amount of money (around $500 for example).
They could solve the issues described by dalleck and timsamoff.

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#14 2013-05-12 10:08:50

jearr
Member
Registered: 2013-04-18
Posts: 42

Re: Abandoned Houses

My wife was clubbed for $31.

Last edited by jearr (2013-05-12 10:09:37)

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#15 2013-05-12 13:48:45

realitysconcierge
Member
Registered: 2013-05-06
Posts: 29

Re: Abandoned Houses

jearr wrote:

My wife was clubbed for $31.

XD That's so awful lol.

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#16 2013-05-12 14:06:27

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Abandoned Houses

jearr wrote:

My wife was clubbed for $31.

Weird idea and a bit off-topic, but I noticed that killing family doesn't really feel bad psychologically. How about a simple edit: Since you turn into a murderer, your personality changes. This causes your wife and children to leave you with half your cash. They will never return. So it's an easy choice if you want to have them around or not. Assuming some changes to their mechanics, that would make it slightly less attractive to kill somebody elses family for petty cash or at least emphasise that you accept turning into a monster.


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#17 2013-05-13 07:55:02

jearr
Member
Registered: 2013-04-18
Posts: 42

Re: Abandoned Houses

I recently started over (having died during a self-test of my 20k+ house).  It has been very difficult to make money.  When I log in, I have been robbed multiple times for tiny sums.  By plugging the money hole from abandoned houses, my house with $132 is now deliciously appealing to robbers.  This means starting out with a new house is even more difficult than it was. 

Mr. Rohrer's "huge problem" was one of the biggest ways to make money in the game (next to fresh empty houses).. but it was also an important way to hide.  Now there is no hiding. As soon as your house gets $1, your house appears five pages down from the top of the leaderboard.

Focusing on trying to rob the top houses and ignoring my own seems like the most appealing strategy now.  It isn't very appealing though because most of the top houses are magic dances (except Lance Ronald Maynard, who has one of the most interesting houses I've ever seen).  Once v6 maps come out and all the top houses are pillaged and burned, I'm not sure what will be left. 

I like Bey Bey's suggestion about adopting a "murderer" avatar if you kill family.  Very dramatic.

I've killed many wives in this game, but the current game practically begs you to do it.

Last edited by jearr (2013-05-13 08:05:52)

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#18 2013-05-13 10:17:15

setz
Member
From: NM
Registered: 2013-04-03
Posts: 121
Website

Re: Abandoned Houses

I have had mixed feelings on this topic (as seen above) but definitely am running into a problem now with not being able to "hide" in the game at all anymore. Before this change having a house in the $0-300 range was pretty much safe from never being robbed. but now I have people coming into my house for $38 because it is now on the fourth page from the top. Its an interesting switch and I definitely see why Jason did what he did. I dont really know which side of this argument I stand on but do know that this game is constantly changing and play-styles are having to adapt and be constantly changed ...  ...which rarely happens in games and I think it helps people learn to play the game differently. which is cool.

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#19 2013-05-13 12:35:45

jearr
Member
Registered: 2013-04-18
Posts: 42

Re: Abandoned Houses

this game is constantly changing and play-styles are having to adapt and be constantly changed

True.  TCD is an Alpha, and I support Mr. Rohrer in experimenting and making changes as he sees fit (even if I whine about it).  He has made the game more cutthroat with this change, but I suspect it won't be the last time he modifies the economy.

Could we imagine some kind of “Non Player Characters” houses as a possible middle ground? These generated houses (automatically or submitted by users) could have a random amount of money (around $500 for example).

Aww yiss.  I forgot to reply to this before.  I like this a lot.  I think it would be a good way to showcase house designs that are fun to explore, since they wouldn't have to protect a players' stash.  It would also give players something to do other than rob children of their lunch money. tongue

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#20 2013-05-13 19:29:08

Blip
Member
Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: Abandoned Houses

So I died and had to start over, and I'm realizing that this change makes it incredibly difficult to start out, as all the houses that have any money are protected with electric floors, so the only thing to do is brute force the rich houses. Here are the big problems:
1. Before the change, a big part of making money was grinding through poor houses, which wasn't much fun.
2. Now, making money entails brute forcing rich houses, which is also not very fun.
Therefore, I've concluded that we need a way to make money while still having fun playing the game. In v6, maps will help with this, allowing you to deduce the solution of a house and then trying it out, adding in thought to what was just brute force before. But for now, a fix might be adding these "NPC houses." They would be designed fairly, with proper rewards for their risk. The only problem with this would be shifting game focus off robing others and towards robbing NPCs.
Alternatively, a temporary fix for the magic dance could be derived; the ability to make one for so cheap is a big problem now. Combo locks didn't break the game this badly because so few people could afford them, while a magic dance can be made with the starting 2000. Whether this can be fixed without a new client I don't know, but if it can be fixed, even imperfectly, before v6, I think it would keep players unhappy with the impossibility of nearly all houses now from leaving the game.
As a last resort, salary could be added back in for all houses. That, however, is Mr. Rohrer's decision and not mine. But at least it's interesting to see how big an impact a small change can have, despite my clashing opinions on both sides of this issue.


Current life: Not dead, but I have no clue who I am
The Life and Times of Christopher Alvin Harris
Record: 149 Paintings!

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#21 2013-05-13 22:52:11

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Abandoned Houses

jearr wrote:

...though because most of the top houses are magic dances (except Lance Ronald Maynard, who has one of the most interesting houses I've ever seen).

Sorry to inform you, but Maynards' is indeed a 'magic dance'  disguised as a maze.  At its most basic it is a "Huge Square-Room-Outline of Electric Floors", but is solved by the way in which Maynard recorded his path through the maze.

I think perhaps Christopher Jessie Hansen's house, even though it relies on an elaborate series of unseen trapdoors and electric floors, is the most interesting maze at the top of the leaderboard.  But I don't think we have yet seen the truly great house designs yet which can feed the player information for them to come up with a solution, yet still be difficult to solve.

Segarch also had a brilliant house design which fit this bill perfectly.  Everything could be eventually seen by the player, yet it was a real challenge to solve it.

Last edited by dalleck (2013-05-13 23:19:34)


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#22 2013-05-14 05:47:08

Madeus
Member
From: Bristol, UK
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 8

Re: Abandoned Houses

dalleck wrote:

I think perhaps Christopher Jessie Hansen's house, even though it relies on an elaborate series of unseen trapdoors and electric floors, is the most interesting maze at the top of the leaderboard.  But I don't think we have yet seen the truly great house designs yet which can feed the player information for them to come up with a solution, yet still be difficult to solve.

It was at the top of the leaderboard...  I was Hansen, but someone managed to rob me, though I'm not sure how (I stupidly died before checking the security camera footage so I can't tell whether they worked it out or 'cheated' by looking at the map - I look forward to v6!).  Here is a link to it: http://castlefortify.com/?id=3181d4a

I'm glad you found it interesting despite the underlying 'magic dance' approach, which still seems a bit cheap to me.  However, even if you can see the map, magic dance designs can still be quite difficult to work out and solve first time.  I was planning on trying to add clues by adding distinct tiles at certain locations in relation to the pattern.

I was surprised how almost everyone seemed to give up once they'd reached the main 'magic' switch at the end of the maze when it didn't open the way to the safe with one press.

Last edited by Madeus (2013-05-14 13:43:39)

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#23 2013-05-14 08:35:15

colorfusion
Member
Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: Abandoned Houses

There's currently a huge contrast with some rich houses at the top earning money from people trying, then almost everyone else at the bottom unable to rob anyone due to lack of money in the houses that have already been robbed. I think being robbed should reduce income, not just completely stop it as soon as one person robs you.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-05-14 08:35:31)

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#24 2013-05-14 09:08:37

setz
Member
From: NM
Registered: 2013-04-03
Posts: 121
Website

Re: Abandoned Houses

Ive been trying to find a good way to explain what I was thinking. Colorfusion just did it. Thanks! This is definitely the problem right now.

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#25 2013-05-14 10:52:55

setz
Member
From: NM
Registered: 2013-04-03
Posts: 121
Website

Re: Abandoned Houses

Trying to play today but the game is literally at a standstill with no more Abandoned Houses. No one can make a new house with the $2000 and there is no money to be made unless you are trying to brute force the Top Houses. Which are almost all electric floors right as you come in.

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