What some people described in the comments on the last post is pretty much how I planned it anyhow. Not sure why it did not come out in the text above, but let me describe the process here in more detail (this is a draft):
- You can reserve (or call dibs) on a currently occupied lot – no matter which world.
- You will get the lot if the previous owner abandons it (then it will be reset in any case) or when the user expires (then it’s up to you if you want to reset it).
- If several people want to have the same lot, the first who reserved it will get it. The others stay in the queue until they either withdraw the reservation or until they are in line to get the lot.
- It does not matter if you are next door or not.
- You need to have the right to get that lot (i.e. you will not increase your overall maximum lot count when you get that lot) or the money to afford it.
- You should have the option to reset the lot if you want to. (That’s a good idea I got from the comments).
- Several people can reserve a lot. If someone reserves first, they get it when it’s free.
The big question that I have now is this: Either we make it super-strict or very opportunistic.
- Super strict: You can only reserve a lot if you can afford it or have a free slot. Once you reserved one lot, and you have only one free slot, you cannot even get a free lot unless you revoke your reservation. You total lots would always be your lots + your reservations. No reservations and not lots unless you you give up a lot or a reservation. If a lot costs money, it’s gone until you withdraw your reservation.
- Opportunistic: You can reserve anything you like. 20 people could try to reserve the same lot. One person can reserve 20 lots in empire. First come first serve once it becomes free. It would show how desirable a lot is and also build some reputation for the builder. However, once it becomes free, the person first person in line who has the money and available free lots can actually get it.
Both have advantages and disadvantages, mostly psychological though. The end result would be pretty much the same except that the strict option would force people to think about it more often and switch around their reservations as lots are given to someone else further up the queue. The opportunistic option would favor older players and create a kind of rating for the user. I think there is not a lot of bad in the opportunistic way. People have to be careful that their account is not drained once they get a lot they are not prepared to pay for, and empire lots are not easy to get rid of once you have one.
So I am more on the opportunistic path which is also much easier to implement since I do not have to add all the checks in many places. I would like to hear from all of you if you see a fundamental flaw in the system however.