By Brandon "GreenMarine" Reinhart
One upcoming feature under development in the Star Wars Galaxies secret design lab is the Player City system. Under this system, players who build houses and other structures near each other can incorporate them into a city through a city hall.
A player city is, in effect, a hierarchy of structures and a hierarchy of players. Any structure placed by a player within the borders of a city becomes a part of the city and any player who has a declared residence within the borders of a city becomes a citizen.
Benefits of a Player City
There are many benefits to building within a player city or becoming a citizen of a player city.
Services. The city mayor can purchase and place special service buildings that help settle the wilderness areas of the Star Wars Galaxies universe. Structures like banks, mission terminals, and others can be placed to make the adventuring life easier. Instead of having to return to a major planetary city, these services can be just outside your door.
Business. The city also has the ability to manage business related structures like hospitals, cantinas, and shops. Eventually, players will be able to run these businesses themselves and profit from the close proximity of other players. Aspiring merchants will be able to host their wares directly outside banks and trendy cantina owners will have easy access to the thirsty masses. Over time, new businesses and business structures will be introduced to the game.
Security. The mayor can assign members of the citizenry to the city militia. These players gain the ability to freely enforce the law within the city's borders. Militia members can ask troublemakers or enemies to leave with the new /warn command. If the warned player doesn't leave the city quickly, they will become open to attack from members of the militia. Militia members can also deny undesirables access to city services through the /ban command.
This allows faction aligned players, PAs, or unaligned and unguilded players with a common interest to defend their territory and define a part of the world as their own.
Achievement. No benefit is greater, however, than having contributed to a significant part of the Star Wars Galaxies universe. Player cities will grow in capability as players build in them and contribute to them. As a city's citizenship grows, its "city class" increases allowing for new types of structures to be placed within it.
The Mayor & Voting
The task of running the city is entrusted to the city mayor. Each week, a vote is held for the position of city mayor. At the end of the week, the candidate with the most votes is elevated to the mayoral seat and can begin to put their policies in action.
In order to be eligible for the mayoral seat, a player must be a member of a new profession: the Politician. Politicians gain abilities as they advance in four particular categories of city management: fiscal policy, urban policy, martial (defense) policy, and civic politics. Politicians earn advancement experience for getting votes in weekly elections.
Once elected to the position, the mayor is able to manage the city in many ways. They can place beautification structures like parks, set taxes, manage the treasury, appoint militiamen, or poll the citizenry on critical issues.
Only a city's citizenry is allowed to vote in an election. This means you must own your declared residence within the borders of the city in order to affect policy.
The cost of maintaining the services and structures of the city is withdrawn from the city treasury each week. As a city grows, the expenses of managing services will quickly add up! In order to offset the cost of services, the mayor has the ability to levy taxes in three different sectors:
- Citizenship Tax: The city can charge a fixed, weekly tax from the citizens of the city.
- Property Tax: The city can charge a property tax for every structure in the city.
- Sales Tax: The city can charge a sales tax on items sold through the bazaar.
Notices of changes in taxation will be sent to the citizens and property owners in the city. Think your mayor is charging too much? Vote him out of office! (Then /warn and shoot him for good measure. ;)
Building Up the City
All of the new structures for player cities will be craftable by players. Parks, hospitals, and even the city hall will all be available to the new Urban Planner profession. This is an 'elite-elite' profession only available to those few who have mastered the Architect profession. (More 'elite-elite' professions will become available in the future.)
As the city's resident population increases, the city can upgrade in rank (city class). A Rank 1 Outpost becomes a Rank 2 Village up to a Rank 5 Metropolis. Each rank provides access to new types of city services and expands the borders of the city allowing for more structures to be placed in the city.
Room for Growth
The player city system will be introduced to live servers in progressive stages. The design has been planned to be modular so that the initial system can be rolled out to players as quickly as possible. The team has plans to develop and introduce additional city structures, services, and systems over the months following the introduction of player cities. Many of these additional features will be driven by YOUR feedback. Get out there and start meeting your in game neighbors...soon enough they might be trying to vote you out of office.