Sunday, January 25, 2009

Miss Doe's Interview

On a day not too long in the past, I donned a black dress, black wig, hooded black cloak, and black deer mask. Thus suitably disguised as 'Miss Doe', I proceeded to an undisclosed location to talk with Prince Q of Kingdom A and Princess R of Kingdom B. These two nobles have engaged in an intriguing but possibly risky practice known as 'trader jumping'.... Here is what happened...

Princess R, Miss Doe, Prince Q

Miss Doe steps into the darkened area, and peers around uncertainly through the smoked glass eyes of her mask. "Q? R? Hello?"

Prince Q: Hello Miss Doe.

Miss Doe: Oh, Q... where's R, did she make it?

Prince Q looks back at R

Princess R: R is around, ;)

Miss Doe looks around the corner

Miss Doe: Oh there you are... good! Are we safe, here then?

Prince Q: As safe as one can be on non-restricted land.

Miss Doe: Oh, good point. Well maybe we can make it quick. What's this 'trader jumping' thing about, anyway? It sounds wild...

Prince Q: It's a method to experience the trader more frequently than every other day.

Princess R: sometimes twice in the same day

Miss Doe: Wow.... how do you manage it?

Prince Q: When the trader is first sighted, you have six months before you have to pay. You can change lieges in four months.

Princess R: Three months if you get the timing right, like if he shows while we are together.

Prince Q: And after you pay the trader, you can jump right back to your old liege, and the trader year continues.

Miss Doe: So let me get this straight. Since you're in two kingdoms, the trader is visiting each on his own schedule. So with some fine timing- and 6 months warning with 3-4 months to switch is fine timing- you can get him no matter which kingdom he's in?

Prince Q: If you have a friend of the right rank in the other kingdom waiting to TP you, yes.

Princess R: yes, and we have. ;)

Miss Doe: So, Q, you go under R when he visits her kingdom, and R, you go under Q when he visits Q's kingdom.

Princess R: yes, although Q has things set up a little simpler than myself.

Prince Q: There are a host of issues to resolve.

Miss Doe: How so?

Prince Q: Well, you're up-line has to be accepting ...

Miss Doe: Starting with one's immediate liege, I'm sure.

Princess R: and your current liege needs to be online.

Prince Q: When I jump, I take 20k acres with me, and that can freak a prince out.

Miss Doe gulps and imagines a full kingdom disappearing in a heartbeat.

Princess R: It can freak a monarch out, too.

Miss Doe: I can... see why. R, is your jump as dramatic?

Princess R: We both have over 20K total acres.

Miss Doe gives a muffled whistle.

Prince Q: But we try to not jump if it means we'll be gone for census.

Princess R: Yes, that would be bad. The whole up-line would suffer.

Prince Q: Don't want your up-line to lose all their citizens. It's a bit easier for me, because my liege is an alt of mine. So I can always bring him on to take me back at the right time.

Miss Doe: and he's very understanding about it...

Prince Q: Yes, it took a while to get him 1000 personal acres ... but now he's (chuckle) quite understanding.

Princess R: My direct liege isn't always available. However, I do have an understanding and sympathetic higher up, who can take me back.

Miss Doe: But you have to pay to leave your old liege (granted, Q, your alt benefits) and pay again to return. Is it really worth paying twice to get the trader once?

Prince Q: Personally, I don't gain a whole lot. Changing lieges twice takes a lot of gold. But my down-line loves me.

Miss Doe: I can imagine. How many people usually get the extra trader?

Prince Q: As many as 20 have been on once. And as few as 5.

Miss Doe: So personally, you don't gain much land or gold (net), but if you get about 10 people with cheap land or something similar, you could get a hundred more acres in holdings that you wouldn't have gotten any other way.

Prince Q: That's correct. But even more, I get a down-line that is reluctant to leave for other kingdoms.

Miss Doe: Except when they find themselves in the other kingdom... I suppose that's as good a way of yelling 'trader' as any.

Prince Q: Yes, they only get a month or two notice. I use the general Kingdom chat.

Princess R: lol, yes, that does work, the down-line doesn't get much warning.

Prince Q: But the first time it happens, someone in the down-line is always worried in the 4 months we are away because their title starts to fade.

Miss Doe: Oh, good point. How long does it take a title to fade away?

Princess R: Most of a day, sometimes longer.

Prince Q: And we're only gone 4-5 months.

Miss Doe: Not even close to a day. But if they haven't experienced it before, I can see how it would be alarming. What other problems are there with this?

Prince Q: By the time the trader year is over, everybody is happy.

Princess R: It can cause a major change in the kingdoms’ rank.

Prince Q: If your liege doesn't have at least one other subject, his citizens will drop to zero -- no waiting for census.

Miss Doe: Ouch. Has that happened to your alt?

Prince Q: It did the first time.

Miss Doe nods in understanding

Miss Doe: So are you afraid the Emperor will find out? I mean, it seems hard to believe that the fame of this hasn't spread at least among your two kingdoms. He's certain to hear of it eventually.

Prince Q: I believe he already knows. He knows everything doesn't he?

Miss Doe maintains a discreet silence.

Princess R: hehehe

Miss Doe: So how did this all start?

Princess R: It started as a theory, 'What would happen if ...'

Prince Q: We started thinking about this almost as soon as the trader started to come to different kingdoms at different times. I used to be R's subject before an ascension pulled us apart. We've remained close. And this needs a bit of trust to go the first time or two.

Princess R: I used to be a direct of Q's Monarch before they ascended.

Miss Doe: A bit of trust on the part of everyone, it seems... up-line, down-line, and personally.

Prince Q: Yes, but the rewards are good for everyone too, up-line, down-line and personally.

Miss Doe: Well, the down-line gets more traders. And I guess the up-line gets more acreage, just as you do, as long as their hearts hold out.

Prince Q: I've tried to recruit others in other kingdoms to jump to. But without a personal connection, it doesn't seem to work.

Miss Doe: So it's just the two of you doing this?

Princess R: There are a couple of others who have helped.

Prince Q: Another in R's kingdom when R isn't online. And I've jumped once to a different kingdom.

Miss Doe: Did your down-line question why it wasn't the usual 'alternate' kingdom when you did?

Prince Q: No. By that time, they'd learned to enjoy the ride.

Princess R giggles

Miss Doe: and the trader lol...

Prince Q: yes ... so my down-line tries to always keep trader money available.

Miss Doe: So how often does this usually happen?

Prince Q: Well, not so much over the holidays, but we're going to start up again.

Miss Doe: A good point. The two of you must be online together a lot, then.

Prince Q: R is online more than me. My RL is starting to squeeze me. But, we are online together quite a bit.

Princess R: Not so much recently, but, with the right offline message, Q can be on quite quickly.

Miss Doe decides not to ask about the other secret methods of communication

Prince Q: Oh, this is too good to not share. I have my group notices sent to my gmail account, and if the notice has the word TRADER in it, it gets sent to my cell phone as a txt message. So, I almost never miss a trader -- though it's a bit tougher to get online in time to jump.

Miss Doe: You must be near a computer at all times, then.

Prince Q: Most of the time, I'm within 30 seconds of my keyboard.

Miss Doe: R, do you have that sort of ability, or do you leave it to Q to be available anywhere almost instantaneously?

Princess R: I'm lucky in that I still live with my sisters, and one of us is almost always at home, so, 'I' can be online a lot of the time

Miss Doe: Ah, a good point, and a goodly amount of trust.

Prince Q: Yes, trust is important.

Miss Doe: So since both of you have enough to be your own kingdom, and since I hear that the Trader comes more frequently to smaller kingdoms... have either of you thought of ascending? Q, if your alt was a King, you could catch the trader in his kingdom, in Kingdom A (assuming someone there would take you) and in Kingdom B. Trader surfeit!

Prince Q: I'm not online enough to be a good monarch.

Princess R: And I don't want the responsibilities, and drama, that goes with being a monarch.

Prince Q: So this is what we do instead of giving out titles, and assigning vice-reigns.

Miss Doe: I gather that the drama from the trader jumping has more or less died down to an acceptance and even enjoyment, then.

Prince Q: I haven't heard from anyone who objects, once they know that it's okay with our monarch.

Miss Doe: And your monarch approves in both kingdoms, I take it?

Prince Q: Mine certainly does.

Princess R giggles

Miss Doe giggles as well

Miss Doe: So it's full speed ahead with more traders. Do you have any active plans for recruiting more people from other kingdoms, or do you just do it between the two of you and mention it now and then to see what happens?

Prince Q: When I get in a good conversation with a prince/ss or monarch, I'll ask, but I'm not looking around for the purpose of finding a new jumping partner.

Princess R laughs

Miss Doe: R? Are you content just to do trader jumps with Q?

Princess R: I tend to just go with the flow. If it's convenient, I'll go for it, if not, I don't.

Miss Doe: So if someone else decided they wanted to do this, do you have any advice at all?

Prince Q: Make sure that your liege is online before you jump away.

Princess R: check with both your up and down line, and especially with your monarch first.

Prince Q: The down-line can get restive if they're not back where they belong quickly. Oh, and what R said.

Princess R: Make sure that you have enough gold ;)

Miss Doe: You must spend all your time saving gold, between multiple switches and traders.

Prince Q: I keep 20x an acre price to make sure I have enough for both jumps and the trader.

Miss Doe: I can believe it.

Miss Doe looks around at the darkened sky

Miss Doe: Maybe we'd better leave before anyone else notices us. Was there anything else I needed to know about this?

Prince Q: There's always something, but I think you have the most important details.

Miss Doe: Great. Good luck jumping and if you get a call from another kingdom, well... you know :)

Prince Q: It was a pleasure to speak with you.

Princess R: What Q said, ;)

Miss Doe: Take care, Prince Q, Princess R :)

Prince Q: Take care.

Miss Doe slips away back into the shadows, giving a last goodbye wave to her new friends

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