I think that the thing that surprises PvE players the most is when they're told what to do, not when they're told they have to fight.
If the group needs X, you better be making X, or the group will kick you out. This loss of agency turns these characters into "jobs" with "bosses". If the player is OK with the job and having a boss, they tend to stick around and be a contributing member of the team. But if they take the attitude that they should be free to do whatever the hell they want and that nobody can tell them what to do ... they're often shocked to be shown the door.
Nobody needs an untrained inexperienced character in a tough fight. But they may need a specific kind of gear, or specific repair materials, or specific consumables at specific times and places, and if the PvE contingent isn't delivering, the war will be lost.
2) What about LE, will they have any drawbacks comparable to LG, or will LE be a pretty large/easy to maintain alignment?
My thinking on this is that LE will likely be mercenaries. They will have a lot of pressure towards the Evil axis and there will be a lot of value to them in worshipping Evil gods. But they will want to have access to advanced Settlement structures so they'll want to maintain a fairly high reputation, and will therefore likely avoid the kinds of things that would drive them from law to chaos. Plus they'll want to be known as groups who are scrupulously honorable - nobody wants to pay a mercenary and then have them turn on the client.
I think the LE mercenaries will be who you call when you need to go to war against the LG knights and their vassals.
3) Would POIs be a likely spot for LG or other specialty alignments? It sounds like maintaining a LG alignment would be easier for smaller social structures, so maybe a CC of LG characters might run a security POI (Watchtower or Manor) for a CG settlement
I think Settlements are going to be very involved in micro-managing the points of interest in the territories they can control or influence. I think at least for a long time they're going to be production or trade focused systems so the objective will be to run them at maximum efficiency. I don't know if that will intersect with the alignment systems much.
In general I think that it is likely that there won't be highly concentrated groups of single alignments. I think most social groups will be a melange of alignments, and that they'll have a bias but won't be homogenous.
When you think about PvE content like Escalations, you have to think about something that could be running a hundred times in parallel, and tens of thousands of times (or more) over the lifetime of the game. It's easy to author a "story", but it's hard to author content that survives that kind of repetition without becoming dull.
It's also virtually impossible to make an event that responds to unique player interaction in surprising ways without simply being just random outcomes. For example, once the process to get a mob to alter its behavior via social factors like negotiation is known, that knowledge will spread and everyone else will treat it like a recipe. You won't actually "engage" with that content, you'll just click the buttons to get the response you know the content will generate. Interesting once, then dull for everyone else forever.
You have to assume that either there's pure randomness, or that the maximum outcome will be exploited by scripted approaches to the content.
In an MMO nothing the players experience is "unique" or truly "interactive" except for the content they provide each other.
'm curious how you see those segregated camps varying in Early Enrollment, and whether you think that segregation will serve to protect Lawful Good characters from the worst ravages of the Chaotic Evil & Low Reputation crowd.
I think that Early Enrollment is going to be very unstable. I think that people are going to find that what they thought would be fun isn't fun and what they thought would not be fun is fun.
Especially in the beginning the space we will have is very limited. People are going to feel crowded. There will be a natural tendency for people to fight rather than negotiate. The initial PvE content will be extraordinarily limited. You'll find camps of monsters, you'll fight them, you'll get some economic value from winning the fight, and you'll use that to get better gear to fight more monsters. Most people will do that for a few hours (maybe) then realize that the other players are way more interesting to fight than the monsters.
I expect there will be wandering bands of players focused on attacking and killing other characters. The penalties for being a ganker will be hard to make meaningful in a game without player Settlements. I hope that instead of a swirling chaos of everyone for themselves we end up with groups who fight with some cohesion.
I think that it will be very common for the first thing people to try is fighting one another. We may find that we need to create some kind of "Red vs Blue" structure very quickly to accommodate this kind of thing even if other game systems are not mature enough to let it emerge naturally. Otherwise I think we'll end up with meaningless reputation and meaningless alignment systems (everyone will be low rep chaotic evil).
I don't know and can't predict the kinds of things we'll try to mold the community towards something more productive than just endless meaningless PvP. Partly it will rely on a consensus by the players that there needs to be more to the game than meaningless PvP or it won't grow and become interesting to a wider and more diverse audience.
The core game loop needs to make PvP a negative feedback loop. In other words if all you do is engage in PvP you should find that you become noncompetitive due to a lack of gear. The only way to get new gear is to have some economic value, which means you need to kill some monsters or do some crafting to sell gear to people who do kill monsters. We will have to learn as we go how to twist the knobs in the system to inject coin and harvestable resources, and how quickly to degrade and break gear.
Early Enrollment is really an experiment in community building as much as it is in game building. We will clearly make mistakes and have to roll back features and restart systems even fundamental systems like the economy. Everyone who plays in Early Enrollment will know what they're signing on for before they start, and I'm comfortable that some people will want to wait a long while for things to become more settled rather than "waste their time" playing in ways that might be rolled back.
In a centralized region controlled by a well organized, cohesive, effective Settlement, I think the Escalation system may rapidly break down and cease being perceived as a danger.
There are (at least) two degenerate conditions:
The first is that Escalations never Escalate because the Settlement simply is too good at detecting and eliminating the Escalation cycle as it begins. Escalations cease being a game system and just turn into a harvestable resource node suitable for even rookie characters (and probably ONLY accessed by rookie characters because it won't be worth the time of more advanced characters to bother).
The second is that Escalations are "farmed" by the Settlement, allowed to Escalate, but in a controlled manner. Value is extracted from the Escalation at each phase in its evolution by teams who are dedicated to getting maximum value from the Escalation while continuing to allow it to get "worse". You don't let the rookie characters anywhere near these Escalations because they might accidentally ruin the value progression by killing the wrong mobs or killing too many mobs or whatever. I'm sure people will find a "sweet spot" where they're getting more value out of killing the mobs than they're expending to farm them, and then they're just managing another resource faucet.
How we deal with either of those conditions is anyone's guess at this point. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
These degenerate conditions both happen because there is little risk of outsiders coming in an upsetting the local economic ecosystem. If the area is generally at peace and if outsiders are generally absent, the Settlements will become masters of extracting tiny slivers of advantage from every resource faucet within their domains.
Just curious, but what would your advice be for players who were interested in minimizing their exposure to PvP without really gimping themselves by being stuck in NPC Settlements?
I think that it will be very hard to do this for a very long time. By design, we are going to try and avoid the concept of a large blob of contiguous highly secure territory that EVE has. That means that you will likely find yourself in the position of having to exit secure territory to harvest resources or move goods to profitable markets. Since it's unlikely there will be much social cohesion in the NPC settlements, that means you'll either have to take a risk in hiring mercenaries to help guard you, run those routes alone and hope you can avoid danger, or have a large enough circle of friends that you can ad hoc a group large enough to be a credible deterrent on an occasional basis.
At some point there will be PC settlements that are strong enough to have reasonably secure nearby territory, and within that territory people who want to avoid PvP will probably be able to work in relative peace. If things develop as I expect, the PvE people will be 2nd class citizens (much as they are in EVE, for the same reasons they are in EVE) who will be told what to make and where to work and expected to forgo most profits to keep feeding the military forces of the host Settlement.
It is possible that some group may decide to try and create secure territory without too many strings attached to PvE players. This happened in EVE in an area controlled by an Alliance called Curatores Veritatis who operated their territory in NRDS mode. They have suffered from a lot of internal chaos over the past year or so and I'm not sure what the current state of their territory is.
Over the very long term I expect that the initial territory in the game will become peaceful and quiet. It may be peaceful and quiet because the Settlements have reached some kind of accord, or it may be a frigid cold war. Hard to say. The edge of the map will be where most territorial conflict occurs and where the most dangerous places to PvE will be located. It remains to be seen wether it makes sense to create several "islands" of territory and link them with some kind of gate, or if we just keep growing the contiguous map to the south and east into the River Kingdoms. The former option would likely mean that instead of a stable core surrounded by a warring perimeter we might end up with stable islands and chaotic islands. There are pros and cons to both approaches and 5 years or more from launch we'll have to figure out which are the best options.
3. Whenever I talk about EVE's lack of constraints on toxic PvP, I feel compelled to remind everyone that PFO will have significant constraints on toxic PvP.
I think it would be wrong to say there is "toxic PvP" in EVE. The toxicity of EVE's community is not due to the PvP. It is due to the fact that the company encourages really bad behavior between the members of its community.
There is some griefing in EVE that is driven by PvP, specifically pointless ganking of underpowered or rookie pilots where the loss of the attackers are not offset by any meaningful in-game effect except pissing off the targets. There's also a griefing mode where a much larger and more powerful organization keeps a numerically, economically and/or cohesively inferior target organization in a constant state of war "just because it's fun" to pick on people weaker than oneself.
The toxicity comes from tolerating harassment, sexism, racism, rampant homophobia, and communications in open channels of the worst sort of content. It flowers in an environment where scamming is rampant and unpunished. It is amplified when CCP appears to not only condone, but promote acts like breaking huge Alliances out of fits of pique, or betraying organizations from within by stealing incredibly valuable shared assets after winning the trust of the target organization (both enabled by the crappy design of the security and shared-value systems in the game). It spiraled out of control very early in the game's history, the company shrugged its shoulders and said "we think it's interesting to see what people do when there's no restrictions", and that set the pattern for all the abusive behavior that followed.
It's a community with a value system based on adolescent male power fantasies and the worst aspects of young male posturing and testosterone-fueled displays of aggression and lack of empathy.
The PvP is not the problem. The original sin of tolerating horrifically bad behavior between community members is the problem.
"The Goodfellow" wrote:
In this "new" context of "spending" reputation, I am not taking it as if it were a coin or good, but rather spend it via actions that lower rep doing an action that will benefit the company/settlement/kingdom. That is how I understood the "spending rep" concept.
Do you think you're "spending weight" when you exercise?
"The Goodfellow" wrote:
Another question, is there a way to gage how well a character is being played within the guidelines the GW has set, for example, bandits who ambush rather then SAD, vs bandits that SAD vs ambush? I originally thought rep would be that metric. Will there be a metric for that at all?
Yeah, this keeps arising as a fundamental assumption. And it's wrong.
Here's the "guidelines GW has set":
Don't be a jerk.
Everything else is the emergent experience of hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands of people seeking their own destiny in our virtual world. Those actions, save for the jerky ones, have neither the quality of being "good" or "approved".
Formation combat should be a totally different kind of experience than what anyone has attempted in an MMO before. A well coordinated, cohesive unit acting in formation should be superior to almost any random force of zergs. The tradeoffs have to be significant though else everyone will try to do everything in formations. I suspect that the biggest tradeoff will be that we'll limit where formations can form and where they can move.
Having a high reputation means that you can unlock the most advanced structures which give you access to the most advanced training and enable your characters to use the most advanced character abilities. (And probably a lot of other stuff too).
But the most advanced dagger is not the best weapon to take to a fight where your opponents have crappy shotguns. Being a kung-fu master doesn't help the wheat grow faster. A horde of mooks that are willing to die for their cause, and then be bored for a while over and over and over will be a credible threat to a small group of knights who won't take the war to their enemy for fear of sullying their honor.
I think that rep will be a fractal system like many others and while it may initially have some clear association with PvP, it will over time mutate and become associated with many other aspects of the game. Reputation should reflect the consensus of everyone you have interacted with not just the characters you interacted with in PvP.
Therefore it does not indicate anything about your character's combat skill, the character's past behavior in combat, it's tactics in combat, or anything else that specific.
Reputation will also likely be relative. In certain areas of the map "high rep" and "low rep" will be defined differently by the local inhabitants than in others. In an area trying to be very high rep lawful good, you might find that even small lapses place you at a social disadvantage. In an area filled with murderous jerks, you might find that even a small amount of rep places you above the seething mass of random gankers.
Mechanically there will almost certainly be clearly defined ranges within which your reputation has meaningful consequences to your Settlement in terms of access to various structures and the implications that has on the Settlement's character's abilities. Those won't be dependent on the local social environment they will be server-wide absolutes.
The jerk funnel is not simply reputation. It is the combination of low reputation, evil, and chaotic behavior. My opinion is that it will be virtually impossible to be chaotic, evil and have a high reputation, and I'm OK with that. I fully expect there will be high reputation lawful evil Settlements, and low reputation chaotic good settlements, and every other combination in the matrix you can imagine. Mechanically the closer your Settlement gets to low rep, chaotic and evil, the less powerful your characters will be.
You will have to choose between a wide variety of variables to find the place that best meets the desires and needs of the community - how stringently will you attempt to enforce border security, how dangerous do you want the surrounding territory to be for harvesting and exploring, how often do you want to go to war, to what extent will you venerate gods of law, chaos, good and/or evil, do you honor or abrogate contracts, will you have an expansionist or a defensive posture vs. your neighbors, etc. etc. etc.
People sometimes misunderstand what the Goons did to BoB when they first arrived in EVE.
At the time high-end alliances were used to fielding fleets comprised primarily of Battleships. The Battleship was much better than the smaller ships, and much cheaper than the bigger ships. Pilots spent lots of time training skills to maximize the power of their Battleships, where the last increment of training could take months for a tiny mechanical advantage. The richest pilots fitted their ships with rare, exotic modules that gave them tiny mechanical advantages. The result was that all the tiny edges added up cumulatively to a consistent winning advantage in fights.
To counter this tactic the Goons, who had neither the length of training time nor access to the supply of exotic modules determined that a mixed force of cheap, small ships and Battleships could win against the experienced vets if they could get a numerical advantage of about 2:1.
The cheap small ships used a tactic called "tackling" which slowed the opposing ships and blocked their ability to "warp out" of the fight. They were fragile and died often, but the Goons would have large stocks of these ships in nearby systems so that a pilot that lost a ship could race back to base, get a new hull, and race back to the fight quickly. They essentially became inhaustible.
With the enemy tackled a lot of the advantages of the high level skills and exotic modules were negated. The Goons would then gang up on target Battleships and destroy them one at a time. They would lose their own Battleships during this process, but again, they had positioned reinforcement hulls nearby so their Battleship pilots could get back in the fight.
It was essentially a war of attrition, where one side was losing a lot of money much faster than the other side. Essentially the Goons "bled" BoB catastrophically.
The problem with the Goon strategy is that actually taking territory required the use of one of the bigger than Battleship hulls to engage in siege warfare against player-built locations called Stations. Since the battles at stations were sieges, the Goons didn't have the advantage of being able to pick territory close to reinforcements. And they had to use big, expensive ships that required a lot of training (more than six months, minimum) to use, so they couldn't rely on rookie pilots. The Goons proved they could defend their own space, and that they could beat BoB in battles, but they couldn't take new territory against entrenched defenders. They essentially creatd a static WWI style front line.
The Goon innovation showed how a new Alliance could get started and have some initial success against disorganized incohesive opposition, but it didn't actually displace existing cohesive effective opponents. Long term the only thing that has done so has been internal breakdowns in leadership leading to sabotage.
Do we gain reputation over time, passively?
I don't know. I thnk that is a part of the plan.
Do we gain reputation from active, positive game play?
Do we gain reputation for sanctioned PVP, crafting, exploration, gathering, healing, managing a settlement, etc?
As far as I know there is nothing called "sanctioned PvP". As far as the rest I think almost certainly.
Do we gain reputation from PVE activities?
I may be out of synch with the designers, who may be planning a pure rep over time system, but I don't think the plan has been made that final yet.
Could you perhaps describe how you would view a character of high reputation in the eyes of a company or settlement leader?
I wonder how good this character will be in a fight. I wonder if this player will do what it takes to withstand hostile incursions from unknown forces? I wonder how this player will react when called on to take one for the team.
Many MMOs with PvP develop a degenerate culture where any character that can be killed is killed. This then drives people who don't like dying pointlessly out of the game, leaving only people who are ok with pointless killing.
I have said from day one that our goal is a game with lots of PvP and little meaningless PvP. Killing newbies "just because" is the ultimate definition of meaningless PvP. We'll just work and work and work, with in game mechanical systems, community management and supervisory authority to keep punishing people who kill meaninglessly, especially if they're meaninglessly killing newbies.
I just don't know how much more plainly I can state this. I'd rather shut down the game and quit than run a simplistic murder simulator for the enjoyment of a tiny fraction of sociopaths.
It would be a huge mistake to make recruiting newbies hurt a Settlement. In fact we want the opposite to be true - you should get an advantage for adding newbies.
Reputation isn't a protection mechanism. It's a mechanism for allowing Settlements to make informed meaningful tradeoffs between various types of actions and developing character abilities.
Cyneric Torrin wrote:
Couldn't I just train pick locks, find/remove traps, and use magic device as a wizard or sorc? Then also take invisibility, for recon and other such things? All this said, given that Arcane Trickster is one of my fav classes to play as.
Certainly you can. And you'll be advancing down each of those paths at a fraction of the speed of people who choose to specialize, but that's totally up to you. You're not following a pre-defined role, you're forging out on your own to find interesting ways to use the game system, and we applaud that.
If I want to play a high DPS character, why would I choose Rogue over Mage?
Arcane spellcasting implies tradeoffs regarding the abilities you have access to based on your spellbook - depending on the situation you may not be correctly configured for DPS.
Arcane damage is likely to be typed meaning that you may face resists.
You may have a limited amount of high-DPS options per realtime unit.
You are likely to be a glass cannon and some people don't like being alpha-strike targets.
can explain a bit more as to why someone would choose a Rogue (outside RP'ing reasons).
Find / remove Traps
Sneak Attack increased melee damage vs. flanked targets
Sneak Attack increased ranged damage vs. sniper targets
Stealth for observation / recon
Mixture of lightweight armor and good melee damage
Use Magic Device
You miss my point.
In a world where you could be Flat-Footed inside your Settlement if you voluntarily sheath a weapon ... nobody will sheathe their weapons. Because there's no cost to being ready to fight, you'll always be ready to fight, which means you'll never be Flat-Footed which means there will never be a surprise round which means there is no benefit to sneaking around alone inside a Settlement trying to catch an opponent unaware, etc. etc. etc.
It's a classic example of "wouldn't it be cool if x means nobody will ever do x".
That's why I said we could artificially impose a rule saying you were involuntarily put into a situation where you could be engaged with surprise, and also why I said I was uncomfortable with that, because all we're doing is removing choices from players by fiat.
Pax Areks wrote:
If combat has yet to commence, and I am in concealment, and I strike via melee weapon, would my opponent not be flat footed by default, unless otherwise specified as not being able to be denied a DEX bonus?
Yes, that's the intent of the Surprise Round rule. If, in a meeting engagement, one side is not aware of the other side, the side that acts first catches the other side flat-footed.
Maybe I'm using a term of art that is unfamiliar. "Meeting engagement" is one of several ways a combat action can begin. It just means that two opposing forces encounter one another while one or both are moving in an environment suitable for combat conditions to result where one side was incompletely prepared for battle.
Now here's the problem.
Let's imagine we're using tabletop rules, just for the sake of argument. I will want to be in initiative order (that is, in "combat mode") any time I feel I'm in a dangerous situation. If I'm in a situation where I think I'm at risk, I'm going to have my weapon drawn and I'm going to be wary of being attacked. Under those conditions there will not be a surprise round.
We could mechanically create a surprise round by doing something like allowing a group that is engaged in a fast-travel mode which is ambushed to begin the fight in surprise, but that implies that the fight begins immediately; the attackers and defenders are intermixed at melee ranges as soon as the fight starts. We had not planned on doing that; instead my ideas were that you'd be precipitated out of fast travel and the ambushers would have to move to your location and engage. Clearly, if you got dropped out of fast travel, you'd immediately go on guard, and there would not be a surprise round.
We could imagine a situation where within the walls of a Settlement you might not want people walking around with weapons drawn all the time ready to fight, and have a rule that by fiat put you in a vulnerable situation, and in that situation if someone somehow got inside the walls and got close enough to you without being detected, they might be able to initiate a surprise combat. But that's a lot of ifs, and it takes a lot of agency away from players and that makes me very uncomfortable.
As I said upthread, surprise rounds should be very infrequent events. In my games, they usually occur only within tightly constrained spaces (like dungeons or caverns) when the party prepares an ambush and monsters walk into it. Generally speaking, the PCs are rarely the target of a surprise round, or they're subjected to one at the start of a set-piece battle where I engineered the surprise condition by fiat for dramatic purposes.
I'll submit before and I'll say again choosing a roleplay where you kill people based on a random condition such as "anyone wearing a green hat on Tuesday" is simply killing for the sake of killing AKA RPKing with a thin disguise.
This was the argument used by Goonswarm when they began their suicide ganking campaigns against Hulks ("Hulkaggeddon") They claimed that while to the outside world it looked like they were engaging in RPK, really they were "Role playing" an in-game event. Later, this morphed into their claiming that a lot of 'bots used Hulks and that they were really trying to degrade RMT and 'bot activity. (The latter may even be true; RMT and 'bots are a problem for a group that is based on throwing masses of low-level characters at problems...)
To the players who found their Hulks blown up by suicide gankers, it didn't feel like much of a worthwhile excuse.
This is the kind of corner case that we'll have to have a lot of community input on. In EVE, it was not an issue as nothing they were doing was going to illicit a response from CCP (although things like naming the leader of the effort "the Prophet Khartoon" and declaring a "jihad" struck too close to too many nerves for my taste personally...)
We might have a different approach in our game.
Pax Areks wrote:
The flat-footed / sneak attack possibility is a result of the suprised state of the target. If the player isn't suprised, rogues should not have the mechanical advantage.
You are using terms from the D20 tabletop game. I wonder if you realize those mechanics don't work the way you're describing them.
"Flat-footed" is a condition that occurs only once in any combat. Here's it's definition:
"A character who has not yet acted during a combat is flat-footed, unable to react normally to the situation. A flat-footed character loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) and cannot make attacks of opportunity."
"Sneak Attack" is a character ability that does additional damage on a successful attack. Here's it's definition:
"The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet."
There is no game mechanic in Pathfinder tabletop where a Rogue can put the "Flat-footed" condition on a character engaged in combat. In other words, you can't use the Stealth skill to overcome the Perception skill of a target and render the target "Flat-footed". If a Rogue wins a Perception vs. Stealth skill test against a character after that character has acted in combat, the Rogue has no inherent mechanical advantage vs. the target. The Rogue may receive concealment bonuses against being hit, but the Rogue cannot Sneak Attack the target as a result of winning that test.
This is a common misperception.
So if we were to keep within the spirit of the Pathfinder tabletop rules, what you would be arguing for is essentially a first-strike capability that only applies when the target is not engaged in combat.
Rogues in Pathfinder tabletop primarily inflict Sneak Attack damage by flanking. They rarely engage in ambush Sneak Attacks against Flat-footed opponents. They are designed to work in tandem with another character. This is strongly in keeping with the mechanics we're building for the online game. Primarily you will inflict Sneak Attack damage by taking advantage of conditions inflicted on your targets by your teammates.
[edited to change skill names]
Ryan, what's the content for LG paladins and clerics?
This is a great question because it goes deep to the heart of the game design.
Note in my previous comment I didn't talk about roles. I talked about activities. The activity of caravaning, and the activity of banditry.
Characters will find a lot of activities to engage in and how they engage in them will be a function of the skills they're training and the role they are following. This is one of the reasons I'm trying to steer people away from the idea of "classes", because class implies a combination of an activity and a role.
Paladins don't have a set of activities they're expected to engage with. I think there are all sorts of activities that a Paladin would have an interesting time pursuing. A Paladin as a caravan guard should play differently than a Wizard as a caravan guard.
I will also say that outside the 4 base roles (Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue), the kinds of things that you'll specialize in may be shaded away from generalities and toward specific kinds of activities. That's more a function of the fact that the non-core roles are already somewhat specialized vs. the core to begin with than some desire to put players in a box.
I have always envisioned Paladins, for example, as being characters who are likely to be focused more on adventuring where their abilities vs. undead and evil outsiders will have a lot of value. Similarly, Druids are good characters for people who like to do a lot of solo exploration since their wildshape abilities will have a lot of ramifications for speed of travel and sensing.
None of which should be taken to say that Paladins can't be merchants, or that Druids can't be soldiers. I'm sure clever players will find ways to combine roles and activities in all sorts of horribly game-breaking and degenerate ways. :)
I suspect what you are really asking is if there's a role for characters who want to seek out evildoers and thwart their activities. My answer is absolutely yes, and I think the evil/good inherent conflict will drive a tremendous amount of content. Our challenge is to create ways to be evil and not have a horrible reputation so that there are evil opponents who are equal to the challenge of their good adversaries.
Another challenge is to find ways to make the conflicts meaningful. Unlike the real world where the life of a criminal can be ended, or a defender of the weak can be sacrificed, in an mmo without permanent death there's no similar "ending" threat. The bad guy comes back in a few minutes every time. The good guy gets up from their deathbed and back into the battle. This is something that no MMO has really done a good job of addressing, in my opinion. And it may not be something that Pathfinder Online finds a solution to. But it's an interesting part of the design space.
If you like dice and you like Pathfinder you will LOVE Pathfinder Dice Arena!
"The Goodfellow" wrote:
@ryan Your part about assassination. Are you saying that you can't put a contract out on just anyone, it has to be "characters key to settlement operations?"
That is the current design, such as it is. We don't expect to have people in general living in fear of being assassinated. If it was something anyone could do to anyone else, we'll rapidly degenerate into any character of any note being a target and therefore acting in bizarre ways to reduce risk.
Assassination, as a game mechanic, is different than randomly killing a target. It is a mechanic related to degrading the capabilities of a Settlement by targeting individuals key to that Settlement's operation. Assassination is not a simple killing. It implies a supernatural component, which is why the penalty for being Assassinated will be worse than simply being killed.
It is also a corner case system that will not be implemented for a long time. It won't be introduced until there is a robust Settlement warfare mechanic in the game, which implies a very large feature set. It will be something viable when the population is very large, when territorial warfare is common and players can benefit from super-specialized characters.
We have not even designed this system yet. The "design" is the first paragraph, and nothing more.
The only reason it's been discussed is that I knew people would ask about the concept and be curious, and it is better to have some answer than none.
A social norm requires two components: The transgressor needs to know they have transgressed; and the community needs to know who the transgressive person is.
Simply inflicting pain on the individual can be negated easily especially by people with a high tolerance for pain. In MMOs that usually means boredom. But giving the community a way to restrict the individual's interaction means that the penalty is out of the control of the transgressive person. Merely being "bored" long enough will not fix the problem.
To make it easy for people to know they have transgressed, and for the community to know who the transgressors are, we use two overlapping systems. Part of the functioning of that system is that it be simple. It's simple for the two systems to respond in tandem to the set of behaviors we seek to control.
Small gang roams, we would roam around low sec and 0.0 looking for enemies and anyone else we came across. Some we would kill, all enemies we would kill... Including taking on larger gangs whenever we saw them... the most fun
Probably chaotic evil. I say probably because there's a debate to be had in Crowdforging about the presence of anything-goes territory. If we decided to have that kind of territory, then in that territory, your actions would have no mechanical effect on your character.
Contextually, the play you describe could run the gamut from "awesome" to "banned for griefing".
That play style becomes socially harmless and mechanically beneficial if it is done in the context of territorial control. If you operate in a war zone and your targets are war targets, you're playing the game as intended.
If you do it in territory controlled by someone you're not at war with, you'll suffer mechanical penalties.
If you do it in territory we're trying to make safe via NPC control you'll suffer those penalties quickly.
If you target a player or players and seek to continuously inflict distress for no meaningful in game reason, you may be disciplined out of game.
I am not trying to be a jerk by asking these questions, I just want to know whats in your head for this... Im seeing players being called jerks and a#!!%!&s for things you are coding into the game for them to do and it just doesnt sound right to me.
A knife can be used to fillet a fish or kill a man. The presence of a tool does not imply that all uses of that tool are equally valid.
There are lots of tools in the Pathfinder Online sandbox. Some of the uses to which those tools can be put are unwanted. So instead of removing the tool, we seek to remove the behavior associated with the misuse of the tool.
I don't want all play styles in the game. There's a wide range of play styles I just don't want. I could just say "we don't want them", but that won't work - it's inherent in those play styles to intentionally violate rules and community standards; it's the point of those play styles to be transgressive. Therefore we need systems in addition to standards to deter that behavior.
@Summersnow here's the problem.
In EVE, you can't fly to every point on "the map". If you just point your ship in a direction and accelerate to max speed, you'll never get anywhere close to any other location.
EVE uses fast-travel between points on the map. You have to have the location of the end point of the trip before you start the journey. So that creates a situation where wandering gangs of attackers don't just "stumble on" the encounter area. They have to actively search it out and then fly there. The time to travel to a location can be quite long; long enough for anyone in that location to recognize they've been detected and to flee.
In Pathfinder Online there's no need to fast-travel to get to any point on the map. You can just walk there. So any location that gets created on the map is subject to being discovered by random wandering gangs. And the map is small enough that a gang could cover a large part of it with scouts, and when a location is discovered, the rest of the gang can run to that location. In other words, every location will be discovered almost as soon as it is created and every location will be infested with gankers.
The net effect will be that nobody will take "missions" unless they do so in protected territory with no risk of being ganked. So we'd end up with a bunch of programming time spent on a system that didn't actually work; in unprotected territory, taking a "mission" would be foolish, and in protected territory there's no difference between a public and a private mission.
@Andius that's exactly my hope. There are lots of game options for people who just want to be jerks. It will be years before Pathfinder Online is big enough to be meaningful competition in terms of size & number of targets vs. those other options. So I believe that if given the choice between being a jerk successfully in a game with lots of targets, vs. being a jerk in a mechanically disadvantaged situation in a game where the targets believe they can seek relief from the authorities from jerks, the jerks will pick the former, not the latter.
And I further believe that if that pattern is set early, and reinforced strongly, that it becomes self-perpetuating as the size of the game will grow. Avoiding toxicity early will create the conditions to maintain a low toxicity as the game becomes more successful and attracts the attention of a larger and larger audience.
Fundamentally what I think most players want, and have not found, is a game where there is substantial risk, and where there is conflict and danger, but where the harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress just for the lulz is minimized. That's the environment we want to engineer into the game from the beginning. Certainly it will take endless tinkering to try and maintain that culture, but that's the good thing about games as services - continuous development and iteration is built into the plan from the beginning.
The reputation system inflicts collective punishment for the behavior of individuals. Since the quality and nature of the structures in your Settlement is dependent on your reputation, and the abilities of your characters are dependent on the quality and nature of the structures in your Settlement, if a character is eroding your reputation and thus degrading the quality and nature of the structures in your Settlement, every character in the Settlement is affected.
So reputation will drive the collective to expel people who refuse to conform to the collective's will with regard to reputation.
The alignment system segregates players. It drives players with similar playstyles together. If we do a good job of making you make meaningful choices with regard to things like Settlement building selection and how grouping works at various scales, people who want to play an alignment in one corner of the graph will have a very hard time being in the same Settlement as people in the opposite corner of the graph.
Therefore, characters who behave in a manner consistent with CE will tend to group together. CE behavior will be consistent with low reputation. Low reputation Settlements will produce characters that are disadvantaged vs. other kinds of Settlements because the quality and nature of the structures in CE Settlements will suck.
We're creating a funnel that pushes people who act like jerks into a situation where they are stuck playing with other jerks, and one cost for being a jerk is that they are less powerful than people who are not jerks. If some non-jerks who want to be CE "just because" get swept up in that funnel, frankly, I'm ok with that. I'd rather have a very good and effective jerk funnel that unfortunately traps a few non-jerks than a wide open playing field for jerks that relies solely on moderation and community peer pressure to control bad behavior.
(And frankly, I think it will be reasonably hard to be CE and not be a jerk)
I think the designer's ideas about reputation and alignment are still in a lot of flux, and there will be a better time to dig into the mechanic once we've done more work on other systems. I don't believe that whatever plan we start with will survive contact with the community and will need to be revised many times based on feedback and exploitation discovery.
Well, I'm pretty far off the reservation now, so you'll have to indulge me. This is very much theorycrafting and opinion rather than fact or plan.
I remain a bit skeptical that the reputation system will work as intended by the designers - as a check on griefing behavior. I am of the opinion that because it can be quantified, people will use it as a currency - they'll "pay the cost" to gank someone, and the calculus of the cost/benefit of doing that will be pretty easy to compute. They'll also know what they need to do to remediate minor reputation hits. Players will rapidly gain a sense of how often they can whack someone without suffering any lasting meaningful penalties.
I think that the biggest impact of the reputation system will be in aiding a social group in identifying and removing bad actors; the people who just can't keep the crazy locked down and who pose a continuing risk of upsetting carefully maintained tradeoffs being made by the rest of the group.
I think the alignment system is going to be the major impediment to griefers. I think they'll find that we've intentionally designed the game so that people who behave badly often find themselves at a serious power deficit vs. their peers and I know from experience there's nothing that drives those kind of people around the bend faster than thinking that someone else has an advantage they don't have. As the alignment system forces these people to cluster together I expect it will be very much Lord of the Flies within those groups. I think that they'll serve as a great example of what not to do. The horror stories of maltreatement and constant upheaval coming out of the Chaotic Evil settlements are going to look really unappetizing to everyone else. (And every once in a while the CE people will rally behind some strong leader and come boiling out across the map ready to pillage, but that's just more great content for everyone else so I think it's a feature not a bug).
The reputation system could end up doing the same thing, forcing bad actors to cluster regardless of how the alignment system is implemented. I'm not going to rule out the idea that there could be some really low reputation Settlement that doesn't degenerate to CE, I just think it's extremely unlikely.
I guess I see the two systems as more of a "carrot & stick" pair than as two layers. The reputation is the carrot - keep your group from being jerks, and your group will maintain significant advantages; the alignment is the stick - act like a jerk and you'll find your options for character development limited and your peers likely to be as bad or worse than you are.
I'm a little bit uncomfortable with the use of the words "sanctioned" and "unsanctioned" with regard to PvP. I think those terms imply a level of top-down approval/disapproval review that we don't intend and won't enforce.
There's a difference between griefing someone - which we'll loosely define for the purpose of this discussion as taking some actions with the overwhelming intent to piss off another player or ruin their play experience without a meaningful in-game reason other than causing distress; and engaging someone in unwanted combat for some meaningful in-game reason.
The former is something we want to work really hard to discourage, as we've discussed ad nauseam. The latter is a feature of the game and we want to ensure that people understand that.
Trying to destroy a Point of Interest is almost always going to have a meaningful in-game purpose. It should not be the kind of thing that happens randomly, and should require substantial preparation and a prolonged effort to achieve. Points of Interest are a critical part of the economic fabric of the game so destroying one will have a material affect on the economics of the surrounding area. In the struggle for control of territory, that will almost always have significant consequences. We expect Points of Interest to be defended and for their owner/operators to have arranged in advance for reinforcements to be called if needed. Destroying one should not be something that one character does on a whim in a few minutes.
This is not to say that such actions won't have consequences - they certainly will have consequences. I just don't want to blur the line between things we (and the community) feel are "ok", and things we don't by using words like "sanctioned" or "unsanctioned".
in 2012 CCP generated about $65 million in revenue, and had about $4 million in profits. They increased their debt by $19 million. In 2013, through the first 6 months, they had generated about $36 million, and a tiny profit.
The most powerful characters will be members of the largest, most well organized and run Settlements. Those Settlements will have a lot of work to do and will expect their members to do it. The extent to which you fel the need to contribute to that work will be a social relationship between you and the rest of the members of your Settlement.
The people who are likely to find our moderation of the game and it's community capricious and arbitrary to the point where it becomes an issue for them are also likely the source of many problems. If those people decide to leave, that's a win.
For the record, to the bst of my knowledge, the developer who cheated and helped his buddies was the source of much outrage and little impact. His actions were used as propaganda which had the effect of raising awareness of the game to new heights, and injecting the community with a sense of shared purpose that had effects that are likely still reverberating. My best guess is that the net overall impact on subscriptions and revenue was extremely positive. (The impact inside the company was something altogether different)
"Don't be a jerk" is a fantastic rule.
If you are in a situation where you have to decide "am I being a jerk?" Most of the time the answer is YES and NONE of the time is it a mistake to not do the thing that is potentially jerky.
We operate in real life under this rule all day. Driving? Don't be a jerk. At a concert? Don't be a jerk. At the bar? Don't be a jerk.
Somehow, some people seem to lose the ability to not be a jerk as soon as they're behind a computer screen alone in a room with anonymity.