Overhauling the Farming system
I'm putting this post up here for players to add to the idea of overhauling the whole farming system for the game devs. So if you have any input you would like to add feel free. I'm curious to see what players think and have experienced with the whole farming system.
I have been farming in Eco since I bought the game on steam back in February. Honestly it took me about 2 weeks to master the system and even after all this time I still have huge frustrations with how the system works. To start I 'm going to review how the current system works. The farming system is not the same as the farming skill. The farming system is the complex system of world gen, NPK values and land movement. For anyone that has been a farmer you know that setting up a large farm is dependent on the RL players understanding of of the game mechanics and not the skills that a character has through skill points. If your not familer with all the little small changes that effect farming look it up on the wiki. Honestly there is about 15 different game mechanic factors that effect farming which make a very complex system to grow food. So if you don't know how it works look it up, you will be very surprised.
What I'm proposing is for the devs to create a new system for farming while still keeping the old system. Right now when a world begins only about 15% of the world is capable of high food out put. The reason behind this is the how biomes are created and the values plants need to grow. those two combined limit where farmers can set up and grow crops. Most of the worlds i've been in I have found I need to be very far outside of town to grow food. The reason is how land values change. I once had a massive corn field that died overnight because someone built a house next to my property. Surprised? So was I, but the just the function of building a small house created a cascade effect that kill off over 16 5x5 plots of corn. Why? because when they build the house it decreased the moisture value and temperature value of the land around it. in turn that effected my crops and lowered the moisture and temperature of my corn fields. all it took was a 3 degree drop in temperature and a 5% change in moisture to turn all my crops from 100% match to a 0% match in less then a few hours. the effect was I was out 400 corn seeds and had 16 plots of land I couldn't use to grow crops. Doesn't seem right that a farmer has to move there farm every time someone builds a house next to their fields. But based on how the game mechanics works this is a problem. This is only one of many small factors that can ruin a farm. there are more.
So how can this be corrected? I suggest having fertile plots for farming. for example a 5x5 item that farmers can make that allows them to control the crops they are growing. It doesn't make sense that we can build laser to shot down a meteor but have no idea on how to control the growth of plants. by having a controllable farm plot a farmer is no longer dependent on the changes in land, world gen or world ticks to grow crops. Right now growing crops does depend on server ticks. Just because your plant says it will take 19.5 hours doesn't mean it will. Due to high population servers world ticks take longer and longer. I've had times where crops take up to 48 hours to grow because the world ticks take longer and longer.
Imagine trying to feed 10 players with your crops and you need to produce at least 100 raw produce for each player every 24 hours to feed them. Basic math will tell you that you need to grow 1000 plants to maintain the minimum required food. As a farmer you know that 1 5x5 land plot will produce 25-75 produce times the gathering skill you have. the avg 5x5 plot will produce 4 produce per block, so the math is 25x4= 200 or 1 5x5 plot makes 200 produce. So you will need at least 5 5x5 plots to produce the food for players. in reality you need a lot more food then 100 raw crops per player the real number is closer to 1000. but you take other factors in to consideration, like distance of your farm to other players and how many cals a player is using in a given 24 hour period, ect. problems like low yields and increased grow times are going to cause massive issues for players.
So but putting in player controllable farms would allow players to farm closer to large cities, control production values and production times. it could be as simple as creating a single block that you can grow a type of produce on that is not effected by world gen or land values to a complex hydroponic item that function like a crafting type. in any case I think the game is getting to a point where controlled farming is needed.
I also think that gathering, farming, fertilizers and digging should all be combined into one skill. Each skill by itself has very limited value to game play, by combining them into 1 skill the player is better equipped to do their job.
I have other ideas like making food have a freshness timer so that after a given amount of time food rots. That alone would help driven the food economy. That would also push to have iceboxes and fridges used to keep food fresh.
But if any farmers have any ideas that would work to help overhaul the farming system, add to this post. lets put together a complete player driven idea to support the devs in building a new farming system.
In most servers, you can go around and ask; Most laborers such as Miners, or Lumberjacks will tell you that they usually forage for food to keep up with the demands of a server for their profession. Even with 5-10 players, at least half of them will catch and consume charred fish for calories alone, regardless of their skill point gain or profession. Later on, when their role is maxed, they'll turn to food production for better rates/quality for themselves. And in turn, become less dependant on the food production roles in the world. Aka the Farmer.
I've played for many, many years, and farming/food production has been my favorite role. In fact one I've only played willingly. Food runs the server, without it, you can't play/do things. It's impossible for one person to feed many, with multiple farmers sure.. you can grow/harvest/forage enough food for a group but in no way is it quality food.
A while back the Farming/Crop system completely changed to what it is today, and it completely stunted the Farmer and his/her crops. In my honest opinion, the change is bullshit. I've even commented on it once awhile back on the forums here, how I find it utterly nonsense that a Farmer cannot plant a 20x30 field without 1/3rd+ of his crops dying because they're overcrowded. If the game was trying to go for an Eco-Realism, the human population would have died out by now based on these rules. Obviously none of the developers have a green thumb, let alone a history of even putting a seed in dirt before, or dare I say... seen a farm.
I grew up with fields of wheat, corn and beets around me. As far as the eye can see. Overcrowding doesn't kill a plant. It stunts the quantity. I encourage our devs to plant 2 rows of vegetables in their office, literally any. Corn, Beets, Carrots, Anything. Buy a grow lamp off Amazon, it's like 50 bucks. One row, plant the 10-20 seeds as directed in length/depth by the package, and the second row.. plant them a little closer together, so 15-25 seeds. Now you can go ahead, and do this, wait the 30-65 days depending on the seed, and show us your findings. Because this system is rubbish.
The idea behind the new system is that you use a world-layer to find a population-viable plot of land for a plant. Currently, I live in a good spot for Beets and Wheat. So you till the land, fertilize it if need be, and plop your seed in the dirt. Wait a day, and harvest. Crop rotation is certainly needed unless you plan on fertilizing before every crop, then repeat. Seems simple enough, as long as you find the right plot of land. But, if you plant too many.. Your crops become overcrowded, and die.
So even if you have PERFECT land for Wheat, it still dies. Funny, it's perfect for wheat.. each block, 20 long by 30 wide, but not perfect enough to actually grow your crops. This doesn't make sense. Again, over population might effect your Aerogarden, but not when each block is 1 meter squared. 1 Meter of ground is more than enough to grow 1 wheat seed. In fact, you could throw in 8 more seeds in that block and still have a good harvest depending on your weather.
1 Block, 1 Meter squared, 1 seed directly in the middle of that block. That means the next seed is 1 meter away... yet, it becomes over crowded.
As for what the OP said, about small backyard farm plots 5x5, and people building next to you.. I don't think the system works very well for players building a farm in a town.
The article is very good and interesting. Thanks for the new knowledge.