Scarlett was getting reports of trees dying, so I once again summoned the power of Global Chat to wear down a tree. Turns out that after the patch wears down, there’s no way to care for the tree and restore its supply of the resource. Instead, once out, it dies and can only be chopped for wood. That’s not exactly what I thought was happening at the time I wrote my last post and has a significantly different effect on the near future of the resource routes, at last when it comes to trees.
The end story is as things are under R2, maintaining trees for a route will require completing the project for a patch and keeping a supply of the appropriate tree bean to replant. And poison to take out trees someone planted unwittingly or mischievously. And time.
But it’s not impossible. Even with things exactly as they are, routes can work, especially if some members are willing to donate time and beans. And while it has been asked why anyone would bother with non-renewable resources when there are renewable resources in the world, I personally find it an interesting challenge to provide a service inside the game that benefits others. Ur is a world of plenty, and while interest in joining the roads may wane, there’s still a strong core willing to give it a go. There’s also a number of us who are ridiculously well off in the game — even though our hoarded materials might be sucked up by building homes and furniture in the near future, those of us with maxed or nearly maxed skills have few issues gathering more materials.
But things are not going to stay the same. To begin with, this is just a test. We’ve already been told that in the near future we will receive a crafting helper, something that will craft for us while we do other things or are offline, and that alone will do a lot to ease the time needed to supply beans for roads — if many players are willing to donate the materials, just a few players can maintain the stock with little effort or time.
I can also conjure up ideas that balance the impact of patch lifespans. Harvesting might be automated at some point in the future as well—so materials might be even easier to come by—and I have my own overly specific idea about that mechanic. Patch lifespans are probably very subject to change, especially since the restoration project cost is expected to increase. Items could also be introduce that extend or repair lifespan. The magic rock, subject to have some role on our home streets in the near future, could hand out the proper bean when the tree dies for all we know.
A roaming, tie-dyed dinosaur with a no-no habit might agree to be my enforcer and fight poisoners with antidote and replant the proper trees when they’re gone.
As an upside, I see people coming together to maintain the roads as future social events. Things are getting interesting.
ETA: If there’s one question I’d really love an answer to it’s whether or not the lifespan of resources will increase when the cost to restore increases. That’s what I’m most curious about.