Manor Lord dev turns to community once again for patch advice

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40% of the Earth’s population may be eligible to vote in elections in 2024 but this level of democratic engagement pales in comparison to what we have been seeing in the Manor Lords community. It’s all been kicking off over there, ever since solo developer SlavicMagic, or Greg, opened a poll on what major development should be added in the next patch. A surprisingly passionate fight over the merits and historical accuracy of town walls and butchers ensued and just after these debates another poll was posted. While this one may have incited less passion, it is still an interesting question that has players of the game somewhat divided.

Players had previously been complaining about having plenty of supplies of resources such as wood yet still struggling to distribute it throughout their towns effectively. In discussion threads, some seemingly intuitive solutions were thought up such as increasing the number of workers in the storehouses or building more market stands. However, the problems persisted leading many players to speculate it must be a bug, much like the other bugs we’ve been seeing in the game.

Greg does clarify that this is not the case in the post. With realism a key focus of the game, you have to really think through your logistics. I for one completely agree with Greg’s statement that ‘goods moving physically is a huge part of Manor Lord’s’. While some complained about how strict the ‘pack’ mechanics are, for example, I think most of the community is behind Greg and would agree that allowing goods to simply teleport between towns would compromise the realism that makes the game stand out.

In fact, the community’s commitment to realism can be seen in the results of the poll. At the time of writing, the two options offered that involved the teleportation of goods have by far the fewest votes. The compromise option, D, looks set to be the winner. In this option, in-game realism is still maintained but an adjustment would be made to make the resuppying of markets less fiddly, either by increasing the amount of goods a worker can transport or increasing the time they have to transport it.

For me, this opens up interesting questions about when realism adds to immersion in a game and when it risks detracting. The seemingly obvious answer would be that it always adds; that any compromise in realism is like a plot hole in a movie, collapsing your suspension of disbelief.

I would disagree, however. Take this logic too far and you aren’t even playing a game anymore, it just becomes reality. There needs to be some element that takes you away from the real world, some mechanics, objectives, motivations, or features that mean whatever you’re doing, you couldn’t be doing in real life.

For example, in that very post from Slavic Magic, he lays out some examples where he sacrificed realism, such as not requiring workers to walk home to eat food, in order to make for smoother gameplay. I reckon this is likely to increase immersion. Smooth gameplay allows you to really get stuck into a game. The more frustrating or annoying the gameplay is, the harder it is to lose yourself in that game world.

At a certain point, it just comes down to personal preference, but it’s great to see the level of community debate and engagement with these kinds of questions. It’s even better to see this reciprocated with the level of care and respect the developer pays to the community’s suggestions. The game seems to me to be in capable hands, and I look forward to getting stuck into whatever new features come next.

About the Author

Rory Greig

Rory Greig works as a tech writer for Videogamer. He is a writer with a strong knowledge of gaming technology and an eye for detail. He is especially interested in graphics cards and generative AI.