Estarra requested some ideas regarding existing systems in the games and a discussion on where they are lacking as well as how to improve upon them, so I have decided to put together some issues and ideas.
1) Most Honourable Family.
Right now, it is not really even a competition. The most honorable family gets a huge bonus to their honour for having that. I believe that the intent of this is to make it so that there aren't many back-to-back posts of the MHF changing as they compete, but in practice what happens is that if one family manages to catch up, they suddenly get the huge boost added to them (putting them way ahead of the next family), and then that one *loses* the boost putting them that much further behind.
Solution: Change the boost to be a flat rate of 5,000 points. This means if one takes over the lead, they gain 5,000 and the previous MHF loses 5,000 (which will end up with a 10,000 difference). This is large enough to prevent rapid back-and-forth, while still being in the ballpark for competitiveness.
2) Family Council Representatives
Why? In Glomdoring at least, the family rep is basically a puppet role. Everyone in the family is a subset of people already represented by their guild leaders in the first place, they don't really need a second rep, so we end up just appointing a head when we require a vote and otherwise completely ignoring the person (if one happens to be in the role) as far as a Seated Vote goes.
Solution: Just remove this family perk, it's really not necessary. If you want to replace it with something, make it so that the most honoured family in each org gets a 2/13 Village Influence buff to their org's influencing style (so a Glomdoring family gives all Glomdoring members a 2/13 village influence). I personally don't really like families fighting each other internally for every bit of gain they can get just so that they can get a "reward," though, but am not entirely against being flexible here if there are decent thoughts.
3) Families Barely Hanging On
There are a ton of families out there right now with only one or two consistently active people in them, which makes it very difficult for them to grow. It's even worse if those active people happen to be married into the family-- they don't even have the option to divorce and remarry, because divorcing summarily removes them from the family. These people could be individuals who have devoted RL years to the family and the RP, and be thoroughly embedded into it (far more than most of those actually born to it), but due to mechanics are always essentially second-rate because they're not "true family". All that can be done is to leap upon any eligible parenting-pair the moment they log on and beg them to do Something, Anything (which is also unnecessary pressure upon those people, while also encouraging leaping upon newbies for no reason except for being a "warm body to add to the count").
Solutions: There are a lot of potential things one could do here. Pick one, some, or make up your own!
a) For people who are married into the family, create a new 100cr artifact that you buy (has your mark) and then give to the head of your family (assuming your family is large enough to have a head-- if not, maybe can just use it on your own). When activated by the Family Head, it sets your base family in the system to being your current family. This means if you divorce, you remain in the family.
RP-wise, this would be rather like a family head acknowledging someone's efforts on behalf of the family and officially adopting them (like any number of powerful families in the real-world past have adopted outsiders and made them official members of the family based on deeds or other such things). This frees the individual up to have the same flexibility / options as any other "true" family member.
This person would retain their generation within the family; everything else remains the same.
b) Just open up missing-parent adoption. The mechanical requirements would change this way: One parent initiates the adoption process, and the other parent is still informed. However, if the other parent never even logs on during this process, instead of failing it will initiate a second consideration process (same duration-- this accounts for periods where the second parent might be away on an extended vacation). If the other parent does not log in at all for this second window either, then the consideration will complete and the single-parent-and-child can continue on with their lives.
c) One-parent-adoption, period. This would allow a parent who isn't married to adopt children. If you are married, you can start the process and it then requires your spouse to *reject* the consideration otherwise it is automatically accepted at the end of the consideration period.
d) Multiple combinations of the above, allow families themselves to choose if they want to require "standard" adoptions, missing-parent adoptions, single parent adoptions, or all of the above.
4) Completely Dead Families
I'm not entirely sure what to do with this one, but there are also families out there with no active members at all-- families that have enough members to be Great Houses, perhaps even some historical ones. Is there any thought for allowing someone to become a new generation of these families, assuming that they go through the historical-learning process that the original founders had to do (read the historical written information, etc), or are these families just permanently dead?
5) Family Honour Gain
The formula for family honour gain is... terrible. It's a funky function that squishes down the honour income significantly depending on how much honour the family has. Many honour income rates are a base of either 50 or 100 points (and then adjusted by the house style, such as Blood or Letters). Right now, Shee-Slaugh has enough honour that anything with a base of 50 points gets squished down to being an income of around... 1 point. The 100-point rates get squished to about 40ish. This isn't really displayed anywhere in the game, but it basically means that all of those ticks such as village-influencing provide essentially no honour to high-ranking families.
Solution: Rework the algorithm to be a % reduction instead of what it currently is. You can make it so that higher values are squished about the same amount but lower values are not essentially priced out entirely.
Also, just make the honour gain transparent; show the exact amount of honour gained in the logs (you do for power and essence, why not for this too?).
6) Family Consolidation
There are a lot of teeny little families out there which are not doing a whole lot. Take An'Ryshe, for example. I'd be willing to actually pay some real money (obviously would depend on price, but if you were to do something that could only be purchased with cash instead of credits) to have An'Ryshe folded into another family. Functionally, I'd see it working something like Cults within an Order do (the family head can choose to create 'Sub branches' within the family, and then-- with admin approval as well as that other family's approval-- fold the families together). Someone within one of these sub-branches can then choose to display the main family surname or their sub-branch's surname. It could be based upon # of family members being folded in, or some other such thing-- you wouldn't want 2 huge families merging, but I can see definite advantage to families of being able to work with the smaller families-- too small to be bannerhouses-- instead of competing against them.
7) Banner Houses
Frankly, I think Banner Houses are one of the best things about the current family system. They've allowed Great Houses to be stable that might never have existed in the first place. Unfortunately, they suffer from a lot of the same woes as any other family. One thing is that banner houses provide a lot to a Great House (including making them a Great House in the first place), but don't seem to get a whole lot in return (some honour ticks, seems to be about it). Maybe banner houses, if aligned to the same organization as their main house at least, should get the same other House benefits as the House they're aligned to. Make it more appealing to be a banner than just propping up the # count (and worrying that if you get too many members, you stop being a banner and the house you're supporting could actually lose Great House).
I'm sure the rest of you have some ideas, as well, but this is a lot of what's been percolating in my mind for a while on this specific system.