Bear with me if that was discussed already some place else as I didn't find it but I want to bring up a topic that is in my opinion quite important for multi-user games with the ability to drop objects: object interaction flagging.
What I mean with that are two things: flagging who is allowed to interact with a natural existing object (like trees for example). And flagging who is allowed to interact with a player placed object. Which is related to the question where any player is allowed to place objects.
Since most MMO's avoid the ability to flag naturally existing objects at all. And avoid the ability to drop object to the ground. The experience with what these features can cause is limited in larger user number environments. The ones I know of are UO and ATitD (A tale in the desert).
UO pretty much has no flagging, everyone can interact with any naturally existing object - except taming/riding owned npc. Everyone can drop anywhere things but they are not flagged as property so anyone can pick them up, move them.
Advantage: You can't grief people by cluttering their yard (optical stuff) or preventing them from expanding their house (engine based checks for empty ground). Stuff disappears by decay to prevent environment cluttering and client lag.
Disadvantage: without an ability to "bind" something as property you are limited in terms of decoration outside (fences, plants) as well as creation of self established ressource nodes (fields for example).
ATitD went the other way around: almost every object someone drops is flagged as property of that person. Ressources are excluded and are free-for-all and decay. Only the owner can interact/move/delete these objects.
Advantage: one has a huge freedom to decorate inside and outside, good for creativity and customization. Amazing what some people come up with. Ressources harvested but not picked up will not clutter the lands.
Disadvantage: A lot of griefing by people placing for example bonfires (cheap non-decaying object/building flagging) all over the places of other people. This is an optical annoyance AND it prevents people from building at these places, extension of their houses is only possible on empty ground. Furthermore there is a tendency to built for example mines on ore veins out in the nowhere just to "claim" the spot. And then forget about them and that is it. People who come to settle there are than not able to use that land ... Or people leave the game and their compound decays - but all the rocksaws etc. you have to built outside stay forever. Which is a LOT of stuff over the games development.
There has not been a solid solution to the problems caused by the ATitD approach so far even though the players discuss this topic since years now. I have played around with UO server emulators and freeshards a few years and tried to come up with a solution to this stuff. Now I'm curious what is planned for Xsyon? Since I read a post where someone stated trees were chopped down close to his home and left there and now he is stuck with them laying around ... I was wondering if there are already solutions engine wise to counter these problem? Or is that not considered a problem at all.
I mean the "best" solution I came up for me so far was:
1. distinguish in ressources and player-owned objects
1.1. ressources are anything which is not placed at player owned land by the owner himself
1.2. ressources can be moved or picked up by anyone
1.3. ressources decay
2. player owned land is defined as area around a players cornerstone
2.1. each subscriber owns a cornerstone
2.2. cornerstones reach can maybe be extended by whatever engine stuff, maybe level? - Question is what to do if someone else already built there ...
2.3. if subscription is cancelled, what happens than? wrap the whole property up into a moving chest similar to EQ2, so once someone comes back they can unpack when they claimed land somewhere else? In UO you have huge deserted places of "homes" where nobody is, cancelled subscription and huge database space and lag