Lum's thing made me remember the reason I quit Shadowbane.
I thought the game had a good premise, y'know?
PLAY TO CRUSH! BAKING BREAD SUCKS! LET THE FULLY AUTOMATED NPCS DO ALL THE BORING SHIT! AW HELL YAH! LETS RUMMMBLLLLE!
But that's not how it was, there was actually a LOT of bread baking that needed to be done to FUND all these automated systems and sandcastle building and sieges and stuff, it just came in the form of "gold farming."
And that's why I quit.
I was SO sick of sitting there, doing nothing, feeling guilty, and watching my buddies endlessly farm those HORRIBLE boring PvE camps so that I could take my split of the money and use their city to repair the armor and weapons they had provided for me and they could use the money to pay for all their city improvements and siege equipment and stuff.
Oh sure, I was a social player, y'know, I tried earn my keep by keeping them from getting depressed, running around in my underpants and helmet, sticking my crotch in their face whenever they sat down to rest, punching them in back while they endlessly slew the same tired ass giants over and over again, y'know, but even awesome stuff like that gets boring after an hour or so.
Yah, I didn't care about any of that city building stuff, I just liked fighting players and wrecking and defending other people's sandcastles, chasing folks around in the snow and getting chased around in the desert, that's all I wanted to do.
If the guys who made Shadowbane had replaced all those horrible boring "gold-farming" pve camps with a bunch of automated npc farms and farmers that a city could tax to pay for all its other automated stuff, it could've have been a much better (and actually less complicated) game.
We woulda fought over control of the farms, just like we skirmished with other cities for control over those hideously crummy pve camps, and maybe we would've had to patrol them in our underpants and helmets, or something, if yer a stickler for potential income and all that, but we wouldn't have had to actually farm them.
If you wanted more levels of gameplay, aside from just making the adrenaline junkies happy, the farms could've produced different sorts of raw materials depending on the region they existed in, instead of generic "gold."
And then you'd have the foundation for inter-city trade agreements (our city will feed yours so many units of granite per day, if you guys will agree to provide us with iron and paper, for example) and city service specialization, maybe even a nice little "attack and defend the supply lines" game with npc caravans and player bandits and stuff, but players still wouldn't have to do anything that was boring.
And its not like a farm has to be more complicated and laggy than spawning pve "gold farming" camps, heck, a farm doesn't really have to do anything except sorta look like a farm on the outside, y'know?
Or you could go all Raph Koster Sandbox and it could be its own instanced separated-from-pvp farming and gardening (or mining, or whatever) simulation on the inside, to attract folks who like that creative dollhouse sorta stuff.
Just have an automated farm be the least productive default, and make sure the "peasants" are on a separate layer from all the pvp stuff so they don't have to care which city is getting their taxes and "protecting" them, they can relocate to other cities without erasing all their work or go around like Red Riding Hood and visit and trade "peasant stuff" between each other and show off their homes and stuff.
Or maybe the cities would want to attract those folks, through its services, or regional resources, or lower tax rates, or whatever, to be surrounded by more productive farms or something.
Yah, so we'd have better Ponies to ride!
Oh, but how would I afford to buy anything, then? If there wasn't any PvE camps, I'd have had no source of income!
Dude, first off, I never bought anything in the original Shadowbane, my guildleader guys just gave me everything to pay for my comedic services as a pet monkey and nutpuncher, only thing I ever needed money for was repairs when I got killed, and they even gave me that.
And secondly, if you really wanted to keep that pay-for-repairs death penalty thing, even in a game without gold, the city coulda paid us a tiny percentage of the raw materials produced (used to repair our shit, or maybe even to pay for consignment work) for patrolling its farms.
Bah, whatever, its not like any of this junk is new, and it doesn't make the game "fun" automatically either.
But it woulda kept me playing Shadowbane a lot longer heh.