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A Fairer Way to Tax - yodabird19 - 06-29-2020

With it now confirmed, between the State of the Server address and multiple messages between players and elders, that the towns of Atlas will soon be forced against their will to regularize their towns, a number of issues come up. Rectangularization will force players to claim plots in a certain pattern, and in order for players to mold this pattern to fit all of the plots that they want, it will likely necessitate that a lot of plots that they don't want be claimed. This will cost obscene amounts of money to all players across atlas, both initially and in taxation. As an example, my own main town, CortesiaDelMar, will be forced to hold 220 chunks (dimensions 11x20) in order to both keep all current plots and become a rectangle; it currently has 117. This claiming would cost 52942g and raise the town's taxes from 216g/day to 746g/day. It is my sincere hope that this is clearly appalling to everyone reading this.
The issue is clear: rectangularization will force players to choose between abandoning useful plots or taking on useless ones, both in massive quantities. If rectangularization is non-negotiable at this point, the issue must be dealt with further downstream: taxes. However, a simple or linear decrease in taxes is not adequate nor fair, because all players are affected by this change to different degrees. Some towns, such as New Efros, already hold or aim for rectangular shapes, while others, such as The Steps of Heaven, are, for one reason or another, abnormally shaped. As a result, The Steps of Heaven will be hurt by this change far more than New Efros. In order to fairly address the issue, the issue of useless and unused plots must be addressed itself. The stakes, as evidenced by the math above, are high.
Fairly addressing this issue requires some level of redoing of taxes in order to ma ke the incoming useless plot claims less problematic. This is not as complex as I may have made it sound. I advocate for a readjustment of taxes such that they tax plots more the more "used" they are. World regeneration already proves that there is, intentionally or not, groundwork for this: it is possible for Atlas to distinguish between natural terrain and player-made structures. Using this, it is not terribly difficult to imagine (though my experience with server developing is minimal) a feature allowing Atlas to roughly quantify how "unnatural" a plot is. I would then advocate that the amount that plots are taxed by be modulated by this quantification. Currently, all plots are taxed for 1% of their purchase price, so I would imagine that this value would be the one modified based on how much plots are used. I do not know how this would be balanced (IE what percentages for what levels of unnaturalness); that sort of fine tuning would - as always - be the job of the developers. However, such a change to taxation would go a long way towards fixing the issues of rectangularization and then some, and also make sense lore-wise; Ajaxan himself has stated that "the term taxes should be updated to 'Upkeep'", and why would players need to pay Nauru to upkeep a disused bog? A change such as this would fix the immediate issue, several other minor issues relating to the fairness of taxes, make sense in the lore, and still allow for the implementation of rectangularization, all while keeping players relatively content and foisting game-crushing taxes on no one. And the stakes are high: as a player, I can confirm that players do not like grinding for hours per day just to maintain their dreams.