Is locations being already discovered just for the testing? will they have to be discovered in the final release, or is locations being already shown on the map the way it's going to stay?
I really think that they should bring back small cities and individual plots, but with different levels of 'civilisation'; anyone can claim a plot in the wild, but they have to deal with monsters, wild animals and a less advanced level of crafting/building, just basic stuff, but somewhere you can make your own tier 1 gear in your own place and have somewhere to store items (no farming). Then players can buy plots in fertile areas like it is now, as part of a city region, with the cities advancements in technology and farming etc. Small cities like there used to be that can be claimed by a small group (5) but have a lower maximum level of attainable technology, due to a smaller population and area. Finally the large cities as they are now.
I'm not sure what the reasons for removing personal plots and small cities were, but if it's anything to do with early players taking all the land and small cities and then later players can't get any, I think the tiered technology and 'decay' will cover those. people need to progress to more civilised areas if they want to do more advanced crafting, and small cities will either grow or fall into ruin.
This way there would be both a basic starting point (for both solo and small groups) that gives them somewhere to call home and get their foot in the door, and as they get more money or want more advanced crafting, they can progress through the tiers, or remain low tech if they want.
The removal of "wild" plots came from the new crafting system. A wild plot not tied to a region would provide you with no technologies.
Personally that would be fine, and that's pretty much what I am suggesting here; just a place for a new player to call their own while they get the hang of the game.
A plot is a big expense. No new player is going to be able to meet that expense before they get to a point where they might as well just join a city
Now, things like Hunting Lodges that can be built near hot spots for a fireplace and some limited crafting would be welcome. Could even have a 24 hour timer or something
@Mirgannel12 While that is personally what you are looking for, most of the other players looking for unattached personal plots want to do so for the purpose of being able to build higher level crafting stations unattached to the City system.
This means that although this would work for your preference, it doesn't fit most of the preferences of those others looking for wild plots.
The resident system works better in this regard, because it is attached to a city's tech tree, but independent of city sieges and can be claimed by any with the gold.
Also, Small towns don't really make sense in the long run of the game, as you describe them, with limits on growth, because eventually, because of limited resources/realestate, any small town would need the capability to become a larger settlement, especially with the siege system in play, otherwise those small villages could be too easily overtaken by sieges, and it wouldn't really make sense that just being small would exempt a city from a siege.
@GamerSeuss what do you mean by unattached to the city system? as in just outside the city walls?
Considering that they would be as well as the large cities, I don't see a problem. anything your city can't make, you can buy, but at least you have a place for yourself and friends.
This isn't exactly my preference, just a suggestion.
Small cities would exist as an intermediate; places that involve the smaller groups of players, to insure growth and movement, because players can't achieve everything they want in those places, so they will have to move somewhere else at some point.
In the same way that large cities will be settled, decay, be attacked and taken, all of those dynamics, the smaller ones will as well, but on a smaller scale, so that players who can't be on for the big battles can do those things as well.
Small cities could fill the spaces between large cities in the same way that local governments fill the spaces between state governments and so on.
I think it would just give more depth to the system; instead of just having big cities or nothing, (land plots are still tied to cities technology tree) adding more degrees could make it more personalise-able, rather than joining a large city straight away that might not be advancing in the areas you want, you could join a small one, or help build one, then move later on when your options are exhausted. Smaller cities would also experience sieges more often because of the smaller number of players required (I have no idea how sieges work)
Not to mention, with a required 20 players, how many players will never get to actually help build a city? the only way for small groups to even be part of a city is to join one that is probably already built by then and, being run by larger guilds will probably never decay, even if it changes hands. The current system allows for solo (sort of) and large groups, but not for small groups.
@DarthJafo I meant ones that didn't need to be paid for, and to counterbalance that, they have very limited crafting available. But the hunting lodge idea is good, and basically the end result I was looking for.