Terms of Use/Server Policing

I wanted to post this under suggestions as I think it would be beneficial for everyone and to get feedback from the Conan community, as well as input from the developers/moderators that help police things.

Reading through the Terms of Use, there are several areas that are very vague. For example, under the portion on building, the Terms state that players can be banned from buildings that block resources (good thing), world boss/lore spawns (good thing) and ‘other areas’ (huh?). Also, the Terms state you cannot place ‘excessive’ landclaims. However, there is no definition of ‘excessive’.

An example of a real gray area is in ‘anti-trebuchet’ claims. Ever since trebuchets dropped, on every official server I have been on, players drop foundations out a ways from their base to keep people from building ‘treb FOB’s’. This has long been an accepted practice and is considered a part of base defense.

Also, what is a ‘other area’?

I think the biggest issue is that Funcom bans without warning and building policy violations can be long enough for you to lose everything. It seems really unfair that a player could lose months or years of hard work for a simple misunderstanding of a vague policy. The easiest way to make this more fair for everyone would be to send warning, which gives players 24-48 hours to fix the issue before then instating a ban if the issue is left uncorrected. This would allow players to correct mistakes/misunderstandings and at the same time allow Funcom to keep the official servers open and fun for everyone.

Alternatively, on PvP servers, shouldn’t the Devs let players handle in-game issues in-game? I am a long-time EVE Online player. If someone blocks/monopolizes a resource or area in EVE, other players band together to take them down. That is a huge part of the fun, organizing and directing a coalition to free up a resource or change the balance of power. It adds an extra layer of depth that has long been the major attraction to survival/open-world games. PvE servers are obviously very different beasts, but in PvP, if we can destroy the offending structures, shouldn’t we, the players, be forced to use the in-game mechanics to address in-game mechanics?

“Other areas” mean don’t build ontop of The Great Dam. Technically you CAN build there but it would be good thing to restrain yourself from doing so.

You can’t have a definition for this because otherwise player will build and claim until they almost reach the point of “excessiveness”. That is why whether you built excessively or not will be determined by the admins for every individual case.

Don’t be a dick. That’s it. If you feel that your actions can be interpreted as “being a dick” by other playes, then don’t do this.

Of course you should! Admin’s won’t take any actions towards your server until you send a report. If you found an abuser with whom you can deal using game mechanics, go ahead and do this. If you can’t deal with him using game mechanics, send a report.

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I have taken interest in your PvP experience and input, and so I’m led here into this discussion wondering about the rules myself. As I have always played by hiding my good stuff and leaving my dispensable loot relatively unprotected, I’ve never actually read the rules because they don’t apply to me. In my real-world experience, I set out a honey pot to gage aggression, then rain fire on the attackers in varying degrees based on the level of the attack. This is pretty much my Conan experience too – make invisible tethers and pretty FOBs to tattle on aggression.

What I’ve seen lately on official servers is very ugly. Geometric grids as far as the PC can render, absent of any style or reason except to protect the base in question. This destroys resources and makes the place look like absolute garbage.

It never used to happen. In the avatar days you could take care of this stuff in a couple of minutes. Now that we’re in the interstitial realm between Avs and new rules, there is only penalty. I don’t think that builds Community, or invites new players either.

I’m going to go and actually absorb the rules now, and see if my FOB tethering (despite its invisibility) might indeed be a violation.

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I agree that bringing Avatars back could solve a lot of the problems. I remember the days of Avatars and they were a great equalizer for the smart small group/solo player against a bigger clan or a more established player. Like you (and I think many players that played when Avatars were a thing) I too like to hide my good loot. However, I do enjoy building large bases because the building mechanics are fun and, since no one seems to want to PvP, building is really the only thing left to do on the server once you have amassed about 20-30 of everything else.

Accepted because there was no counter. Most competitive gamers that don’t like this type of game play went private or just left the game. Others just decided to play around it, and troll the clans doing it just so there was some sort of PVP going on. Realistically, this game play made PVP officials PVE with established clans hoarding and out-resourcing out any challengers before they built up to avoid actual PVP.

Well said.

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Out of interest, since when was not building on the Great Dam (or Chaosmouth, someone else said that recently) a thing? I’ve played for years and on many servers the Great Dam is built on. There’s no recipe or anything that you block and it is a strong but not OP base location. I build on the Dam because it is a strong base location with good defenses and access to many resources such as iron, wood, stone and water, as well as proximity to the Lian spawn and New Asgard.

When we talk about ‘excessive’ plenty of private servers find ways to define/limit ‘excessive’ builds. As we are talking official servers, the devs would have even more ability to track/limit builds to make sure that nothing gets ‘excessive’. The devs could simply build on the mod that allows tracking of build pieces and instate a line of code that disables future building placement on that is reached. Problem solved, no ambiguity, no need to monitor/investigate.

So what is ‘being a dick’? Your definition is probably different from mine and both of us probably different from a third party. I had a kid call me a dick because, as he was raiding my base, I walled him in. Turned out he didn’t have enough bombs to get out, so he had to pull his bracelet and I wouldn’t give him his gear back so he started crying all over global about how I was a ‘dick’ and a cancerous. I’m just telling the story to highlight that different people have completely different definitions. To me, that’s 100% legitimate and somewhat entertaining. If someone did it to me, I’d have to ‘gg’ them and laugh about it.

And that’s the issue, is that kids like him will probably spam report players and, with vague terms of service, that can lead to bans/punishment. Most foundation spams and builds can be handled with in-game mechanics. It requires a lot of work and forging alliances, building up and then planning/executing the raid, but it can be done. We had a group that foundie spammed Brim Lake (not a build, just paved it with foundations), so six clans came together, stone-aged them and forced them off the server. To me, that is how a survival game should be played, with the players policing it themselves and not running to Momma Funcom, with the exception of hackers (as it is very hard to deal with hackers using in-game methods).

Obviously we are talking about breaking the “vague” rules, not about in-game PvP interactions.

On a private server admin can tell “don’t build larger than 10x10 foundations” or “don’t use pens” or “10 thralls per clan” or whatever else. But if you say something like this on official servers the community will answer “wtf? fix your damn game, why should I limit my building possibilities” or else. And they will be right. That’s is why admins operate with terms such as “excessive” because it depends on multiple factors such as server population, assets usage, base location, etc. If you built a huge base on the edge of the map where no player ever appear except you, no one cares. Especially if you play on a server with 2 people online on a weekend. But if you built a giant base in the middle of frequently used route that causes fps drop for every player that passes by, then your base will be removed with a higher chance than the base from the edge of the map. Even though these bases are the same in size in assets usage. Simple as is.

So what if your server, that normally has 2 people online, suddenly gets an influx of players? Let’s say you play there for 3 months, average of 3-4 players on the server every day. Then a free weekend happens and 10-12 new people make that server their home. One new player gets pissed off by your big base, or maybe they just don’t like you and complain to Funcom. You go to log in on Monday and get a message that you are banned and all your stuff decays. Do you feel that would be fair to you?

I would say it is much more fair and reasonable to put a limit on building. That way there is no ambiguity, you either are at your build piece limit or you aren’t.

Also, in an open world PvP game, control of strategic locations is a hallmark of gameplay. Look at games like EVE or Life is Feudal. Whole battles and wars are fought over valuable resources, control of gateway systems/peninsulas, etc. I agree no one should actively block a resource in Conan, but building in a high traffic area should hardly be an issue, so long as the base can be bypassed.

As I asked Lion, what defines being a ‘dick’?

I am willing to bet that if you take five players, you will get at least three different answers. Of course, we may agree on many elements. Camping obelisks and griefing noob river would be good examples of things that most people agree on. Foundie wiping without cause is another.

However, many other things people are not in agreement on. All you have to do to realize that is read through many global chats on a populated server. Some people thinking killing someone but leaving their gear is fine, others consider that a ‘dick’ move. Some players think that a large base is a ‘dick’ move, others see it as creating beautiful game content.

I would be fine with the vague Terms of Service, except that it is coupled with Funcom’s policy of banning without any warning or explanation. If there were warnings for non-hacking offenses (hackers should be gone instantly), then that vague Terms of Service are not an issue. What is not ok, in my eyes, is that a player can play for months, build, help others and enjoy the game and then get banned out of the blue because a few people complained and a moderator took a particular interpretation of the vague terms of service.

Another question that is somewhat related…what defines a ‘lag’ base?

Once again, there are obvious examples. Layering 50 deep and lining the walls with torches and beehives is a good example.

However, what about a base that is 30 layers deep with no torches beyond what is reasonable to light the base at night? My computer can handle that just fine. I have a gaming desktop, but by no means a top of the line rig.

Is it fair for a player to get banned because players using poor quality computers lag out or struggle to render their base? Is that the builder’s fault and, if it is, is that an offense worthy of being banned?

See, again, you are using personal judgement…obbie camping to some is viable pvp tactic, so even that is not clear.

The important part–and read this thoroughly–is it is Funcoms decision based off the data to make that decision on servers they come out of pocket for.

Even i may not agree with everything they deem “toxic”, but that is not important. If you were to go admin mode and do a birds eye view around your base, and what you saw looked like a [blind] spider spun a spider web around it, then you are in jeopardy. If you have 35 empty vaults just placed like a ball point pen exploded all over the oasis to keep you Apex tower from being trebbed. Then you are in jeopardy. If you purposely built a daisy chain of foundations, altars, vaults to kill off brimstone spawns, you are in jeopardy. If you build outside of the playable map (green screen and under mesh), you are in jeopardy.
Trying to say “give me a hard line, because it is not fair” is basically saying i can’t understand how I impact other players on officials they they have as much right to as myself.

I don’t think you’ll get an answer as specific and precise as you want, because I suspect the vagueness you mention is baked into the rules intentionally.

As others have pointed out, giving people exact rules and specifications will allow malicious players to toe the line in a way that doesn’t break the letter of the rule while breaking the spirit of it. On a private server, that kind of behavior is not a big deal, because the admins will step in, do whatever they want to deal with the situation and if people don’t like it, they can go get bent :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

On official servers, Funcom can’t do that, because there will be a very loud minority who will do their best to spread the word about how Funcom is unfairly punishing people who didn’t break any rules, and hurt the game’s sales.

On a much more positive note, if you take a look at the rules, you’ll see that the admins don’t have to use the same size hammer for every nail. I wouldn’t expect a permanent ban for someone who didn’t do anything really malicious and got reported. Maybe I’m just too optimistic, who knows. On the other hand, I’ve yet to see a case of someone who got punished unfairly. Every single time I’ve seen someone complain about an unfair punishment on these forums, the truth ended up being that they did something they really, really shouldn’t have.

The most memorable example for me was a clan whose members wrote a storm of threads and posts about how they were punished unfairly because another player complained about their clan name. It turned out that the clan name was just one of the things they were reported for and the punishment wasn’t for that, but rather for blocking up the Black Keep. I don’t remember if there was undermeshing involved, too, but the point stands: from what I can see, the rules are – so far – being employed to weed out the really toxic behavior and make players understand that it’s not okay to keep doing that stuff.


If I was such a dick and decided to build an enormously huge base knowing that it might affect server and other players’ performance, then of course that would be fair.

There you are incorrect. I fully recognize how much you impact other players. It is a multiplayer game, so in essence, much of what you do will impact other players, especially on a PvP server.

My point is that banning people without warning based on a vague Terms of Use is unfair. Most other games that I have played issue warnings before a player is banned, especially in instances where it may not be the player’s fault. For example, when I played Elder Scrolls, I accidentally gap-closed through a door when I went to attack someone that was trying to flee into a keep. The player who I was targeting must have reported me. Zenimax sent me a warning that this was considered an exploit and that further exploiting would be banned. I felt that was fair since this was a situation where a player trying to play the game inadvertently did something that was incorrect.

Of course it is Funcom’s decision, my point is that this isn’t a good policy for players, especially not on PvP servers. Barring sending a warning for non-hacking/deliberate exploit offenses, Funcom should provide a general explanation email. For example, “you have been banned for violating the Terms of use, please reference Part #”. At least this way, players would have an idea of what they are banned for.

Banning people out of the blue with zero communication is pretty wrong, especially when the offense wasn’t something that was deliberately undermining the game (ie, hacking/undermeshing/exploiting). What I find ironic is that a building violation, which may be inadvertent, carries a higher penalty than undermeshing, which is a blatant offense and often associated with hacking/griefing.


How do you know it affects another player’s performance?

I can render a base layered in four directions at 30 foundie stacks without any serious issues. I know people who struggle to render relatively simple structures (a couple walls and a main base building).

Should I be banned with zero warning because someone else complains because their computer can’t handle a decent sized base?

By that logic, pretty much every server alpha should be banned from the game because most of them have big bases with temples/fishtraps/torches that cause lag on lower/mid gaming engines.

Easy. If when I am getting closer to my own base, my FPS drops, it means it affects another player’s performance.

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