Perimeters! (Wurm Online)

I’ve been saving this one up but it will be short compared to the depth of the subject, in the interests of clarity.

The threads on this subject on the Wurm Online forums go on for pages – or did – not sure how much of it was saved. The rulemakers of Wurm have not quite grasped how intent relates to rules (and laws), except for one shining example and here it is:

Intent: nobody can steal from a deed.
Implementation: mechanics do not allow you to pick things up from a deed you do not own unless you have the express permission(s) required.
Result: Theft from deeds is near non-existent.

The mechanics fully enforce the intent and that is the vital part.

Also of note:
The only effective way to steal is to become a villager & run off with stuff, gaining yourself a bad rep and kos at that deed, that deed’s friends, that deed’s allies, other people who find out about it… This rule is elegant in that the de-facto consequences of going against the intent  reinforce the rule without need of added subclauses and exceptions. the intent is no theft and if, however achieved, someone has stolen something from a deed, community can and do act on that. Clarity of intent really is important.

(There are probably one or two other loopholes, this being Wurm, but I’ve not come across them.)

The above is a functioning and effective game rule. It is simple and elegant and easy to follow.  The relationships between intent, implementation and result are uncluttered. And best of all = It works!

With regards to perimeters we dont even get as far as clear intent. There are various statements from high-ups with various degrees of enforcement and multiple subrules and clauses. Every time I think of it I want to put the whole lot in a black bin bag and take it to the skip. Which is what I’ve effectively done. My deed stops at the deed border, and even if I play on my perimeter now and again, I don’t really care what happens to whatever I made or mined there. My ignore muscles are pretty strong. They need to be.

1) The basic problem with perimeters is that they try to do too many things.

At various times and at various place I’ve seen (intent):

* perimeter is a wilderness
* perimeter is for space betwen neighbours,
* perimeter is for roads and highways,
* perimeter is for new players to get resources,
* perimeter is a buffer
(*) There is also additional bought perimeter, which adds to the confusion, but I won’t tackle it just now. (You pay for people to have an even larger area to devastate, but at least they cannot deed over this area or build on it. This area is reserved for you to expand your deed into which confuses people. The “free” area is not reserved for expansion. Or is it other people can build on it but not repair. We could be here all day if I try and include this function too.)

In order: It’s not wilderness – you can take any resource you wish from it and put a road on it. It can be fenced and the deed owner can build on it. It is space between neighbours, whether you want that or not. People try to get around this and it causes problems. It is used for roads and highways. People hate having roads and highways imposed on their perimeter and most of the clauses and subclauses stem from this part. Reserving perimeters for highways causes as many problems as it solves. It is used by other players to harvest resources. It is not an effective buffer and it is a buffer. It buffers some things and not others with no particular internal logic.

So the intentions are (apart from being too many)  extremely fuzzy and dreamy, open to interpretation and argument, not related to eachother in a logical way, positively despised by some people (which means they don’t get behind the rule and support it) and divisive at a lower level in that they heavily benefit a skilled, mobile, non-deeded playstyle – right down to the highway to cart your perimeter harvests away on for sale at some trade hub. No need to deed.

Implementation: Is about as annoying as it can be. Deed owners are compelled to have this buffer and it is touted as “free”. Well you don’t pay for it, but then you don’t pay for the rest of the server, or the sun or the water either so it’s that kind of “free”. It is compulsory not “free”. Basically you’re tied down in the middle of it like a sitting duck.

People can then come along, mine out any resources, cut all the trees, remove all the earth and generally have a party. There is almost a case for that. It’s ugly and unpleasant for the deed owner, but new players can struggle to find stuff at times. However, and of course, what is provided for the weak and young is often appropriated by the older and more avaricious, in bulk. The case would be that if the server is too crowded, perimeter resources are needed for new players. Server density should be addressed in iteself however, not via perimeter rules.

I could write a book about highways and roads, honest, I just dont have the time. Some people have figured out they can pave tiles they don’t own or even live near in the name of the community by paving everything in sight, so they do. And get nice skills for it I am sure. So your lovely bald perimeter is very likely to be paved over or roaded if you aren’t careful. Umm some stuff about if you were there before the road you can rip it up – but you should see the arguments.

I do not attempt to maintain the wildness or pleasantness of the land surrounding my deed. That way madness lies.

I ignore people stripping out the perimeter and the ugly mess they leave behind.
I ignore anything thats paved/packed/gravelled/slabbed towards my deed, on my perimeter, or in my area. On perimeter I might rip it up if I can be bothered. Usually just ignore.
I do not attempt to make private access for favoured neighbours – nor fence off my perimeter so that people cannot get by. But then I wouldn’t do that anyway. One tile is enough for access (that means two where deeds adjoin), the five-tile spread we currently have (ten tiles if deeds adjoin) is pure overkill.

* Intent: wilderness
: Tackling this one first because it’s the biggest load of codswallop – lets get it out of the way. Deeds are surrounded by an unregulated mess of mine openings, huge holes and craters, half-made fences and falling down sheds to a lesser or greater extent. And roads. Intent wilderness – failed.

* Intent: roads and highways: Wurm has more small roads than people, or to put it bluntly in this respect it’s like a cityscape. No idea if this is intended. Highways (as opposed to smaller roads)  are a subject on their own and need to be sorted out well before any thinking how they fit with perimeters. I’m pretty sure every single deed does not really need it’s perimeter to be a possible avenue for one of these. Individual access does not require a superhighway. Without knowing what they are for though, its impossible to fix it. A very few Highways to connect large areas to eachother would seem sensible, but who knows.

* Intent: new player resources – succeeded and redundant. I have never once planted a deed without perimeter bunnies popping out of nowhere to strip out the perimeter or aim a road or three at the deed. Even in the middle of nowhere. People read their tokens to see what new deeds have been planted and hey presto they arrive – and no the bunnies aren’t so “new”.  You can tell fine when a player knows how to locate an ore vein, create an enclosure, and has the body control to operate a large cart. It must be added that new and old players also have all the unperimetered and undeeded resources on the server to harvest. They don’t need what is on perimeter to survive, the reservation of these resources for them is redundant. No idea if this is intended.

* Intent: Space between neighbours – people simply make adjoining enclosures. Unless a GM is called in and happens to rule that there is an access problem, this is fine. Failed.

* Perimeter is a buffer – yes, just like this daft general statement it is a daft general semi-permeable confused annoying barrier to some things both for the person inside the compulsory tiles, and the people outside of them and on them. Mixed, varying, unsatisfactory.

2) And there you have it. In a nutshell, you can learn to live with the mess and nonsense on your perimeter and live to a peaceful and tranquil old age, or it will drive you quite mad. The game allows no other choices.

Oh wait I forgot. Get yourself a large cart, read the tokens and go and strip perimeters yourself – or tile them. And dig holes. Etc. That’s your other option.

3) Griefing. Anything as complicated and ineffective as this is going to be a haven for griefers. I think most of the griefing I’ve seen though is people with a nervous disposition and a compulsion to keep their surroundings nice being harrassed by holes, craters, tree stumps, swiss cheese, large carts, roads, canals, walkways, fords, fences, ruins….piles, woad, 20 corpses of xIgriefyooanIgiefyoupainx or equivalent plus dead bear……ramps, nails, highways!!….boats, ships, fur…

4) Stripping it out. To fix perimeters you’d need to tighten up the various functions they are trying to perform, and separate them. Wilderness? ok – five tiles of  that which nobody can plunder, pave or terraform. Access? One tile of it with roads paved there by deed owner only (meaning that adjoining deeds could have a 2 tile road if they agreed on it). That kind of thing. Some functions perhaps you could even lose entirely. Does every single deed need or want highway access? Reserved land for expansion- this is a paid service – what has that got to do with compulsory perimeter and should it share the same restrictions?

Hahaha! I learned the ignore trick long ago. Nowadays I watch the bunnies with something like amusement and mine down to water level at some of the deed edges so that any real new player that falls down a drop shaft some bunny made has a fighting chance of escaping the mine.


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