So- here's the thing. I was talking about this in Banter, this morning, and was encouraged to make an Enquirer post so here I am.
I fully understand why outposts breaches, as they were, were Totally A Problem and Something Had To Be Done about them. They were too much- any Outposts outside the NH/IC/KT triangle were doomed for forever-breaches because nobody ever, ever went there for roleplay or much of anything if it wasn't for the Mr. Stern quest, leaving new players pretty much fucked and at the mercy of the goodwill of vets who could go and untangle an outpost by themselves, and even then, it sometimes would take hours. This was unfun and Not Good for pretty much anyone involved.
At the same time, I really miss breaches as a mechanic and I think gutting them entirely (I know the multiplier was just reduced, and the system wasn't removed, but c'mon, I haven't seen any outpost leave Peaceful Days in like a friggen month) wasn't a satisfying answer. And I know I'm more of a niche case (370 drive kills), but part of why I miss them (okay, a big part) was that they were literally the only effective way for me to level. With a breach, I could get past level 1 with maybe 20-30 minutes of effort, which is still a long time but fine because, yeah, I have a lot of DKs and it should take me a while.
Since the change, I've only done one DK, because getting from level 1 to 2 took me like three hours of straight jungling and that's horrible. So, yeah, I miss breaches because of the EXP available in them, but at the same time I understand that they were mostly just a nuisance for the majority of the player base. So that's why I'm suggesting a system to make it optional, instead. Restore breaches to how they normally were - maybe with a slightly slower rate than before, but not this slow! - and simply add a link below the jungle so that players can fight in them, but don't close businesses, don't shut off the outposts. Now people who don't care or don't want to do them don't have to be punished for their presence, but people who enjoyed them still get to fight in them, so they aren't punished either.
I think the decision to fight in the jungles vs. the breach would still be pretty well-balanced by the inherent risks in the breach - no med tent, have to keep fighting unless you can run away - and the lack of req earned from fights. Fish came up with the idea of "the Trenches", which I really like, and this way, all of that flavor text you wrote for the outposts (that everyone still ignores anyway ;- still has a place and works. Maybe change the flavor so that instead of monsters actually being in the outposts, they're just perpetually overwhelming the walls?
I also realize this would make outpost reinforcement mostly obsolete... but it is now, too, so... I dunno what to do about that one.
I have to say, I liked your "make breaches opt-in" suggestion. Naively, I would expect that change to require just a few, small, manageable changes to II's codebase, so presumably it will require a ground-up rewrite and be available in Season 3
The opt-out slightly diminishes the communal aspect of the breach mechanic, but given that some people really like breaches and some people really don't it makes sense to split the two communities and let them experience subtly different Islands in this one case.
I'mma put my unwanted two cents into this pot.
Personally, I feel the shutdown of the breach mechanic kinda kills the atmosphere of a warzone both in gameplay and for RP purposes. It's eternally peaceful and the outposts are now fortresses of safety that people never have to worry about being disturbed in.
On another note, I think that this problem boils down to a much older one as the island is firmly divided into two camps and a number that flit in between. On one side we have the current majority who prefer to just indulge in the writing aspects of the island, which arguably is the bigger part of the island. Things like DKs, breaches and so on are quite low on the list of interests to them and their characters. In the other camp, we have the minority that have put a focus on gameplay mechanics and have woven it into their writing, if they write at all. It's in this camp that DKs = Power and bragging rights and so on. For the most part, these will usually be the players that have been here the longest.
The problem with the breaches was that is affects the whole, but only a part were willing to participate in the system and when those few grew weary, it all fell to absolute shit and then the system was shut down. Now we have the problem where the few that liked doing it are left wanting but the other side doesn't want that threat back either.
I have to question your assumption about the distribution of players between those groups. Intuitively, it seems like players who engage more in writing would be more noticeable to us, as we can observe the product of their labors. However, players who rarely write-- and, indeed, may rarely chat in Banter-- are surely still there, playing in the background. So I would assume we'd be biased towards concluding the writers to be more prevalent. I don't know how to get a more accurate estimate.
The Improbable Island Enquirer - Forum