Massively: Taxes and maintenance costs are absolutely necessary to keep territory from being owned by absent players, but if they're too burdensome, they can prevent people from wanting to claim or improve land at all, figuring that a richer guild will do it. How does the team plan to solve that problem?
CSE's Mark Jacobs: Balance is always a PITA, and this is a perfect example. There is no magic formula to solve this problem, but one thing I will say is that while money may not buy happiness, it may also not buy a piece of land. Just like crafters, players will not be able to simply have money dumped on them by an alt, friend, etc. and then be able to buy whatever land they want. They will have to earn the right to buy it, and that won't happen Launch Day +1 (or 2 or 3).
What's in it for a solo player to claim land vs. a small guild vs. a large guild? Will a soloer be forced to throw his lot in with a guild sized ideally for land claiming, even if he could otherwise participate in other activities as merely a member of the realm?
As per above, you will have to earn the right to buy the land. You may be able to rent it at first, but buying, well, you need to earn that privilege. A solo player who contributes to the Realm will easily be able to earn the right to buy land without having to join a guild. FYI, I generally solo, so I do understand how important it is to support this playstyle and not to design just for guilds.
Do you think the stabilization mechanic will annoy players who claim territory because of a specific view or initial proximity to specific resources, a specific location, or another group's holdings?
Darned right it could, so players will have to choose their home sites carefully. OTOH, it could also end up as a plus because all of a sudden, you now have beachfront property when all you had before was a view of your neighbor's coal mine. :)
But maybe you like coal mines! There's one more big reveal coming this afternoon, so stay tuned, everyone, and don't forget to catch up on the other BSC posts from earlier in the week:
When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!