A set location in a hex would not work, too ripe for abuse. Anyone who wants an easy kill would camp there. A chance to default back to an enemy location is ungood. Random punishment and all that.
30 minute timer still does not address the issue of somebody who WANTS to log off in the wilderness, be it for 1 hour or 1 week.
Another couple issues with logging in at the nearest 'friendly' point:
If you are a solo no-good-nik you are not going to want to trek across the map from an NPC city (your only friendly point) to your preferred hunting grounds every. single. time.
If you are a scout operating deep within enemy territory and those 3 burritos with extra jalapenos you had for dinner decide to make a break for it, or your 3 year old decides the cat needs a bath (in the toilet), you really don't want to spend another 4 hours sneaking past guards and around patrols just to get back to your position.
Instant travel with your hard-earned loot, as Bludd pointed out, is a bad thing. Most folks start their adventuring or gathering with an empty bag, not a full one.
Login traps are a staple for PVP MMOs. One idea to help mitigate them would be a black screen fade-in on login where you are invulnerable but cannot move, giving folks around you time to respond to your presence.
Logoffski is likewise a bad thing if it allows you to completely avoid loss. This can be addressed in a couple parts. First, if you are not aggressed, then you can 'jump into the bushes', becoming invisible to anyone except those specifically skilled and equipped to track. You remain in-game for 1 minute or so before the character is removed from play. A 'Safe Logoff' option can also be given, initiating a 2 minute timer, at the end of which you log off and the character is removed as long as you are not in a combat situation (having given or received damage or used an aggressive or defensive ability within the past 5 minutes). If you are flagged for aggression, you 'jump into the bushes' 1 minute after your connection is severed, but the character remains in-game and discoverable for 15 minutes
I am a fan of the 'Stolen Goods' flag, however, just as in life, there should be a few avenues available to move/sell these.
The first would be to pay a 'fence' to remove the flag on the item so it can once more be sold on the open market. The second would be to recycle the good to their base components (at a loss). The base components would not be flagged and could be used or sold as desired. The third would be to take stolen components and craft them into something. Again, the new item would not be flagged as stolen and could be sold.
Stolen goods can't be threaded and are easily identified as stolen. Carrying/using a stolen item would be illegal in most civilized areas.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
After building and testing some shamans and reading the suggestions posted here, here are my two bits on the topic:
Armor - Light (maybe add a hex to a spirit that grants medium)
Spell List - I like the druid spell list as a basis. The augmentation to this list based off of the spirits expands it in the appropriately thematic direction.
Casting Type - A prepared spontaneous (charisma) caster based off the druid list would make for an interesting, dynamic, and different character when augmented with the spells provided by the spirits. The spells available each day would be chosen from the druid list at preparation, but the spells per day could be used to cast any of them spontaneously. The number of spells available each day could be 2 per class level, no spell level limitations (A level 5 shaman would have 10 spells they could prepare. They could select, for example, 4 level 1, 5 level 2, and 1 level 3, or 3 level 1, 3 level 2, and 4 level 3). The spells per day would be low, similar to the witch, with bonus spells from a high attribute.
Spirit Magic - Add 2 to the shaman's spells per day for each level they can cast. The spirits also provide spells of their own according to each spirit to the shaman's prepared spells each day. Some additional spirits would probably need to be created to add the desired cleric spells to the list.
Familiar - Keep the familiar, it serves as the vessel for the spirits.
Wandering Spirits - This is a fantastic mechanic, but it should probably be accessed earlier (a low-level shaman is pretty awful at the moment). I would prefer to see all spirits be wandering, with a new spirit gained every 3 levels (1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19). The Shaman selects his spirits at the beginning of their daily preparation.
Spirits - Change the spirit abilities into hexes and remove that particular aspect. Greater Spirit Ability could be turned into a Major Hex. True Spirit abilities are turned into Grand Hexes.
Hexes - Each day, at the same time spells are prepared, the shaman can select the hexes available to them They may select 1 hex for each spirit, but need not select a hex from every spirit. The Extra Hex feat allows an additional hex to be selected. A Shaman gains a hex every other level beginning at level 2. Many of the witch's hexes could be added to various spirits.
Major Hexes - at 10th level the major hexes for each spirit are available to be selected.
Grand Hex - at 18th level the grand hexes for each spirit are available to be selected.
Many of the hexes and current spirit abilities need a bit of work to make them balanced or useful. There are many of them which will currently never be selected since they are either completely overshadowed or not worth the limited resource slot.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, Roll20 is a virtual tabletop, and a remarkably well-done one at that. I am currently running a Kingmaker campaign on it with some PFO folks, using the PFO Fan teamspeak for voice.
If, like myself, you need your tabletop fix but your local group has all moved away, a virtual tabletop and voice chat is a fantastic way to go about it. If you are interested in PFO but have limited (or no) experience with the tabletop realm a Pathfinder Society (PFS) game would be a good way to dip your toes in that vast pool. PFS scenarios are designed to be run in a single session, so if you have a schedule that wouldn't allow you to attend a regular game night they are a good way to be able to pop in and out of the stories as you can.
One of the things that occurs to me in reading this is that the raiders are going to need to move all their ill-got gains, especially if they take the time to strip the place. The returning caravan may make for quite the tempting target, especially if the bulk of the raiders move on to other endeavors.
Teeth are fine, to a point. Just look at poor Agrajag.
A reputation system with severe, undesirable, and lasting repercussions may seem ideal, but be careful what you wish for, you may get it.
I've pointed out a fair number of instances across multiple threads where the reputation system will 'punish' me for participation in activities that, while unsanctioned, are valid, viable, and ultimately desirable options. Many are even options that a LG+Rep settlement will want to use to combat the ravening hordes that will threaten their doorstep.
The market will likely dictate what gets mined. The 'top end' ores shouldn't always going to be the most efficient economically.
Yet another EVE example. Right now I have my mining operation out in Null. I have access to all the top end ores (arkonor, bistot, crokite) in the belt/anomoly, but I choose to mine the mid-level ores, especially hedbergite and hemorphite. Why? They offer the highest isk per hour, 5% higher than arkonor, 15% higher than crokite, and 18% higher than bistot. If I am a gatherer and iron extraction is worth 20% more per hour than adamantine, I'm going to mine iron instead, regardless of if I am rank 8 or 14.
Except in the case of ranged fire it should be very difficult for 32 players to melee a single character. 24 players should have to field 16 of their number with pole arms to do it, and the number of mid-range pole arms used should increase the likelihood of friendly fire on their short-range melee characters.
Hence my long time assertion that line of sight and friendly fire are necessities to reduce extreme ganking. Many games not built with such mechanics use HP and damage mitigation to counter the gank, but this just means the gankers bring more bodies to the fight. Limiting the effectiveness of the mass of inhumanity is far and away a superior way to combat the problem of overwhelming force.
On the ganker's side, it means you use longer range, lower damage weapons, or magic, to better leverage your superior numbers. Making these longer range weapons loadouts more susceptible to shorter range, higher damage weapons means, again as a ganker, that you need to use tactics and terrain more than brute force to take down a target and make a clean getaway.
With regard to the concern that more experienced gatherers would tell the less experienced gatherer to 'shove off, we'll take it from here', I really don't see that happening too often. I've been a miner for pretty much my entire EVE career (with forays into piracy, suicide ganking, production, PVP roaming, low, null, wormhole, pretty much everything) and can say with a certainty that the single most difficult thing to do when mining in dangerous space is to organize a guard. Nobody wants to do it, regardless of how fast or slow the gathering cycle is or whether the enemies are players or NPCs. Consequently, as a miner, I fly paranoid. My ships are as heavily tanked as I can make them, I'm always aligned, and with an eye on dscan or local. In 7 years I've never lost a mining ship.
The big thing is you want to have people want to guard your camp, regardless of how fast or efficiently you extract. Having a camp be self-operating is a huge step forward, the gatherer himself becomes a guard. In order to attract others to want to guard with you, there needs to be incentive. A portion of the haul, or an agreed upon payment, combined with guaranteed, worthwhile NPC assaults to get scrap from is a start. Make the camp escalations on par with regular monster escalations and maybe those who search for escalations to put down can be enticed to guard your camp with you. The guards need to want to be there because they will make more than just doing an escalation. They won't usually care about the material being extracted. They don't want to haul it. They just want the coin and scrap, let the gatherer worry about the logistics.
Limiting the ownership of the node to a single person severely hinders another style of gameplay. Prospecting is going to be a nominally solo activity. There will be people who just want to prospect. They don't care about camp nodes. They will rarely, if ever, work those themselves. Giving people the option to transfer claims to more organized groups who WANT to raise the camp and do the escalations would be an incredible boon. Everybody wins then.
The actual extraction at the camp should be based on the gatherer's skill and the quality of the kit used. Make some heinous kits that use undead, some evil kits that use slave labor, etc. There's a lot of possibilities there. Add in the mini-game, and make it so that the guards can play the mini-game as well, giving a diminishing returns bonus to the extraction, but more importantly it gives the guards something to do between escalation waves.
The way I read it is whoever sets up the camp on the lode determines, via their skill, the rate at which the extraction takes place. They do not sit there with a tool and beat on it. The gatherer's task now becomes protection. Material appears in the bin at the end of each cycle for anyone to take.
I would assume the camp disappears when the lode is depleted, leaving the storage for a time. I would also assume that the camp could be destroyed. Either way, if there's an absentee foreman any raider could help themselves to the loot within.
This manner of gathering is where a mini-game (like the hacking mini-game in EVE) would fit in nicely to increase yield or reduce cycle time beyond your normal abilities... and give the foreman something to do between monster and raider invasions.
Thank you, Rich, for all your work here. You will be missed!
I like the premise presented, prospecting way back when was often a solo activity. If the 'mother lode' was discovered, then others were brought in to work it.
I do think that it would make more sense to be able to sell or trade a claim to a harvesting site. Not every prospector wants to be a mine foreman, or have to deal with waves of NPC and PC spawns trying to loot the hopper.
It may be the developer in me, but I am perfectly fine distinguishing the nodes as gathering and harvesting. Simple, concise, descriptive, if a little bland. Gathering evokes an image of a short cycle, small return activity, while harvesting feels to be a moderate cycle, moderate to large return activity with more material investment. In this respect they seem a little backwards in the blog, but the names themselves are fine.
Outposts look interesting, they should provide great targets and natural evolution to a settlement. Separating the settlement material from the item materials is a good step.
One of the biggest factors where ganking is concerned is how much force can be brought to bear on a single target. Can you bring 32 archers and focus fire on a target? How about melee? Can 32 swordsmen attack a single target? How about mixed groups? If a target is engaged in melee, can an archer effectively contribute? What is the chance of friendly fire? How effective are ranged attacks when the attacker is forced into a melee situation?
In EVE there's no such thing as line of sight, and in order to have friendly fire you must actively target the friendly ship (or use bombs). Because of this it's trivial to scale focused fire to absurd levels. If I recall correctly things like Line of Sight/Effect and incidental friendly fire will be possible in PFO, though I could be off-base here.
I'm not evil, just misunderstood!
Good find, Diella, quite appropriate.
I imagine the bulk of the songs I aim to collect will be pop songs, and christmas carols during the christmas season, but if someone comes up with an original or thematic song, that would be awesome.
A big inspiration for my own bandit comes from a poem 'The Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes, and Loreena McKennitt does a very nice rendition of this.
The Highwayman wrote:
Darn real life getting in the way of timely responses.... Anyway, singing off-key, even intentionally is perfectly acceptable, as is intentionally butchering a song (even if you do it badly enough that you should receive -rep for it). My motives for the request for vocalizations is not simply due to my personal brand of chaos and/or altruistic since I would be recording these performances, optimally to be used in the creation of a PFO UNC Album (Working title is "Sing for your Stuff: Volume 1"). I am sorely tempted to use it as a competition too. In this case, each performance on an album would be evaluated by a panel of impartial (heh) UNC bastards... err... judges and the winner given a prize!
Bear in mind that this treaty in no way precludes the existence of banditry within PAX territory. Unfortunately UNC is not going to be the only source of banditry around. Otherwise unaffiliated bandits and brigands may, and probably will, utilize this territory for victims. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that other settlements may hire otherwise unaffiliated bandits to plague the area. These incursions will likely be dealt with by both PAX and UNC.
For neutral merchants outside of PAX territory on their way, unannounced, to PAX to deliver, should you be waylaid by UNC state your intent (quickly) and, for a reasonable fee, you may be able to hire yourself an escort. The fee will likely be less than a normal SAD demand, allowing you to maintain a decent profit margin on your goods. If you run into me, I may even accept a live vocal performance in lieu of coin or goods!
I can see it now... UNC issues a SAD to a neutral merchant outside of Callambea's borders (offering to escort them for a fee of course). The Merchant sees that they are near the Callambea border and decide to make a run for it. An epic chase ensues, and the Merchant barely makes it over the border ahead of UNC who, due to the alliance and Callambea's NRDS policy, are unable to pursue to conclusion.
Whether or not someone shuns and distrusts a low rep character is a call that they should make. Just remember to not make any judgement calls against the player's reputation without a body of evidence.
I think that this is more or less where 'The Ugly' lies. It's not tied to any reputation score, but rather to prior experiences. UNC can (and probably will) have groups with good standing to us even though they are full of -75s. And UNC will probably have groups with Bad or Ugly standing who are comprised almost exclusively of +75s.
If you don't want to associate with my character or allow him into your settlement because he's dipped to -75, that is your prerogative. Just refrain from placing any labels on me unless you know the history and circumstances.
If it's possible to join and leave factions via temporary contracts or arrangements, that would be ideal.
This whole conversation brings to mind a line from 'Broken Arrow':
Riley Hale: You tried to kill me!
One of the more enjoyable, and amusing things about being somewhat mercenary in your business deals is you can be hunting down members of a group one day and fighting alongside them the next. Just because UNC might be trying to kill you doesn't mean we don't like you!
Alignment really doesn't play into this. The mercs will likely slide toward CE, depending on how they go about fulfilling their contract.
Wars are all well and good, but I suspect that many wars will be fought outside the system, using a third party to weaken or disrupt the actual target without expending your influence until the timing is right.
As Bludd stated, we should have tools with which to operate. If we don't need the element of surprise, SAD is the preferred method, even if the request made is ridiculous. There will definitely be times where Ambush is preferable. If the target is neutral, then we take the rep hit. Cost of doing business, and the client WILL be billed for this. If the client doesn't want to pay the rep premium, then we probably won't use ambush if it's not worth it.
I expect some of the work UNC is hired for will take place outside of the faction/war/feud system. We are the ones doing the client's dirty work, we're being the 'jerks' so that they can go about their business as they see fit. Generally we don't care who or what the client is doing as long as we get paid... and defaulting on payment is a good way to end up on the UNC naughty list!
I don't think there will be many UNC members who will shy away from residing in the low-rep range during much of their career. Sure, some may call us jerks for the work we do, but the real 'jerks' may very well be the ones who hired us. Most of what will result in rep hits aren't going to be activities we undertake without a client, Generally when left to our own devices we'll be robbing high value targets via SAD and raiding.
As far as wars go, if two settlements are in a state of war with each other, they both have defined borders and entering those borders should render anyone open to attack. If you need to be on the other side of the war zone you can either risk being exposed to open PVP, or you can go around. If you need to go into the war zone, be prepared.
One small problem I can see with this is not all blockades will occur within the war zone boundary, and not all blockades will occur during war footing. It could be more effective for a smaller group to hire a third party, like UNC, to perform a blockade so they can manipulate the market, wear down morale, drain the coffers, and generally make a larger target more manageable when they do declare war.
Another case where neutrals will result in negative rep is an interdiction on a resource. Suppose someone wants to drive up prices of iron in a region. To this end they hire UNC to attack all unapproved mining operations in an area. This is another valid activity that a declaration of war really can't (and shouldn't) cover, and that will affect a large number of neutral, unflagged targets.
Loss of reputation is fine, there will be times where it's difficult, if not impossible, to programatically distinguish between a valid, desirable situation and an undesirable situation, especially as different metagame tactics evolve. What is less clear is how those who do participate in these false positive activities can recover from them, without making the same recovery as applicable to those who are actively involved in unwanted activity.
We have a general idea of what will cause a loss of reputation, but far less clear is what will cause a recovery of reputation. We also don't know the rate at which different activities will cause this loss or gain, and we probably won't know until during or after alpha.
On potential thing to reduce the impact of a false positive is a 'cooldown' of sorts after performing an activity that causes reputation loss. If another activity that causes rep loss is undertaken before the cooldown expires, the cooldown resets and a more severe loss occurs.
Sounds like faction leadership to me!
My primary character will be freedom-loving and morally ambivalent. I can see him running the gamut from +7500 to -7500 in both Good/Evil and Reputation, but honestly I'm pretty bad at playing a jerk. If I do hit -7500 it's going to be from attacking neutral trespassers rather than from randomly selecting targets just outside an NPC settlement.
If, for example, UNC is hired to blockade a settlement, especially one that receives a lot of traffic, it's a fair bet that a bulk of the traffic we'd interdict would be unflagged for us. That's a bunch of rep hits for a contract, and as such the cost for that contract would likely be adjusted north. It would also likely mean a bunch of us, even the non-jerks, would end up -7500 while participating in valid, content-generating activities.
Lhan stated more or less what I was going to say, but his analogy is much better.
Excessive or exclusive unsanctioned PVP is bad. Those who participate in this are targeting people who do not wish to be targets, and are generally just there to harass others.
Moderate unsanctioned PVP is not bad. Those who participate in unsanctioned PVP accept loss of reputation can be a cost of doing business. Those who place themselves in a situation where they would be subject to moderated unsanctioned PVP need to accept that possibility as a cost of doing business as well. Those who participate in moderate unsanctioned PVP also recognize the need to participate in sanctioned PVP activities to maintain an acceptable reputation.
The key here is moderation. Painting all unsanctioned PVP activities with the same brush is rather ludicrous.
I would argue that unsanctioned PVP is, on its own, most definitely not griefing. Griefing is more akin to bullying and harassment, neither of which absolutely require unsanctioned PVP to accomplish but it is the easiest of the tools to use to that end. Griefing is an intent. PVP is a tool.
And it must follow, as the night the day, that engaging in "unsanctioned PvP" is tantamount to being a dick.
Unsanctioned PVP is not necessarily being a 'dick'. Just because I may kill someone who is unflagged in the wilds doesn't mean I simply wanted to be contrary. If I am guarding an operation for my own group, for example, and it's more secure and expedient to ambush and kill a trespasser before they stumble upon our super-secret operation, I am going to do it. And I am going to do it regardless of the PVP sanctions for that character. And should they persist in their insistence to be there, I will continue with my insistence that they not until such time as the security is no longer needed. I don't care why they are there, only that they should not be.
Neutral alts being used as scouts are another case that will likely be common. If my rules of engagement state 'no neutrals', then the neutrals will be removed, either through warning or through force. If the rules of engagement state 'no neutrals, no conversation', then they will be removed with prejudice without regard for their PVP status or intentions.
There will also be groups who desire to live, more or less, off the radar. They will unofficially claim territory, and equally unofficially defend it. Chances are very good that those they consider trespassers will not be 'sanctioned'. Gatherers on 'their land' stealing 'their nodes' must be removed, regardless of whether or not they are sanctioned. Warnings and negotiation are a courtesy, not a mandate.
What I get from this with regard to those who elect to not participate in any of the 'sanctioned' PVP routes, but who still elect to venture out of the safer areas are in no way, shape, or form any safer from PVP than anyone else. If anything they will be even more at risk since they won't have any factional associates to help them, and would be a valid target for everyone, despite the alignment/reputation hits their attackers will suffer.
I would hope that those who participate in sanctioned PVP have plenty of avenues for positive reputation and alignment adjustments, more than enough to cover the occasional murder that may be 'required'.
Wood and Gold extraction are a couple of examples that illustrate the differences in solo vs group harvesting/gathering. A solo gold miner has minimal equipment. He goes out, digs and pans, and returns with a little bit. A small gold operation involves multiple people (or one person with multiple minions), additional equipment (sluice, wheelbarrows, screens, water storage and diverters), and returns a larger amount. This is an impermanent setup that can be moved (with difficulty) to another site. A large gold operation is a gold mine. Lots of minions digging and extracting, heavy equipment investment, permanent, and requires substantial oversight and logistics to keep operational.
Wood is similar. A solo wood gatherer goes out with an ax to fell a tree, and spikes to split the tree for transport. Low equipment outlay, high time requirement, low return, low operational overhead. A group can take more advanced equipment (multi-user saws, block and tackle cranes, horse-powered splitters, wagons) and harvest more, more efficiently. Moderate equipment outlay, moderate time requirement, moderate return, moderate operational overhead. A large scale operation can set up a more effective pre-processing location (sawmill), and use more equipment to generate a higher volume of throughput, at the expense of increased operational oversight and logistics.
In in-game terms, the soloist is a single player who relies on himself to do everything. This has a low equipment outlay, high time requirement, low return, low overhead, high mobility, and low security. Nominally these are the folks who target the high value, rare resources to maximize the value for their time.
A camp relies on NPC labor to do the actual work. It's set up by one or more players who then oversee its operation and tend to security. It has a moderate equipment outlay (kit constructed for the task), a moderate time requirement, moderate return, moderate overhead, low mobility (encumbrance and time to set up), and moderate security (PC and NPC). These camps provide the bulk of the general-use resources, and could be the beneficiaries of any mini-games to increase set-up time or productivity at the cost of PC security.
A POI structure is the large-scale operation. The gold mines and the sawmills. This is overseen by one or more players and may be associated with a specific settlement. They require a substantial outlay to set up, low player time requirements to operate, a high return, have a high overhead to maintain (lower if slaves or undead are used?), no mobility, and a security variable to the portion of NPC guards assigned and PCs available to respond to a threat. Basically these are structures that are established and produce the goods at a relatively steady rate with no player input. The players just need to pay an upkeep for them, transport the product, and provide additional security.
In EVE terms, the soloist is the miner the large-scale operation are the moon-goo POS. EVE doesn't really have the Camp option, the closest it comes is a Rorqual-boosted mining operation or PI.
*quote edited for clarity
The reasons I presented it the way I did in my dissertation were hopefully clear, though I didn't elaborate much on the reasoning behind the stuff I left out (most of the bolded bits above). Perhaps I should and a consensus on this particular point may be reached.
When a player reaches -7500 they get a PVP flag. Just because you are scraping bottom doesn't mean you can't still dig yourself a hole. People who reach this point either screwed up badly somewhere, are irredeemable, or need a swift kick in the pants to set them on a path of desired behavior. This flag should stay in place until such time as the character digs themselves out of the hole they are in. The amount of time this takes is entirely up to them, hence the -4000 level I set in the wall of text.
a report is automatically generated, to be reviewed by a GW GM. This I did not include for two reasons. First, if GW wants to monitor -75 folks, they should have to tools, or at the very least a query to do so. Automatic reports in cases like this are unnecessary. Second, not all -75 folks are going to need GM monitoring. Some may just toe the line, in which case it's a community issue rather than a GW issue.
"Suspect". This "Suspect" flag will fly for a minimum of 1 hour of game time, and until the -7500 is returned to -7499. The name of the flag is irrelevant at this point. The key points here are the threshold and the duration. As stated before, the threshold needs to be much higher than 1 point and the duration shouldn't be an arbitrary amount that can be waited out, otherwise the consequence is rather toothless.
During the period that the "Suspect Flag", any flagged player can attack the "Suspect" with a double reputation bonus for(the Suspect gets zero), and no Alignment shift unless he/she chooses. A double rep bonus sounds nice, but would be extremely exploitable. I'm perfectly fine with people flagged thusly being fair game for consequenceless PVP.
If after investigating the GM decides that the "Suspect" was griefing, then the "Suspect Flag" can be left in place for a 24 hour time period. This goes along with the other points. GW can elect to monitor griefing and -75 as they see fit. The flag shouldn't be something that can easily be arbitrarily assigned, if at all, and, as stated before, it should be effective until the character has participated in enough meaningful PVP (and/or attonement with his victims) to have it automatically removed.
Warning: Unintended essay ahead
There are positive consequences too. For example, if you like metaphilosophical discussions, all you have to do is keep killing Hobs. His persistence in returning is a positive consequence for you. Likewise, if you are a complete jerk and simply want to kill PVE folks 'for teh lulz' and to 'collect tears', well, then any hatemail, death threats, bounties, and forum whines are positive consequences.
These jerks are the primary target of reputation system, and as currently sketched it does a partial job in combating them. They won't generally care that they are losing reputation, many may even see that as a badge of honor. The alignment, many won't give two shakes of a wet stick about that.
Even though they can't be kept from gaining skill points, by restricting training available to the dwellers of the lower end of the rep scale they should/will be at a distinct disadvantage. It's not enough though. When somebody hits -7500, there needs to be a consequence.
I like the automatic assignment of a PVP flag given to -7500 characters. This flag should stick with them until they grind their reputation back up to above -4000. Under this flag reputation gain should be assessed on a log scale, it should take a lot of clawing to get rid of it, which means a lot of meaningful PVP. Likewise, under this flag, you cannot fly any other PVP flags, and you may only gain reputation through PVP with others who are flying a flag and have positive reputation. Granting extra rep for killing those thusly flagged, however, is highly exploitable and is not something I think should be done.
There are still ways to game this, though. Simply set up an alt, get them positive reputation, and have him kill you repeatedly. Not exactly the result desired since this is in no way meaningful. So here's my idea.
If you hit -7500 and get this flag, you must still grind your rep back to -4000 to get it removed. You may not gain rep through normal means, however. In order to gain rep under this flag, you must fight those who you killed, while they are flying a PVP flag. You may only fight them a number of times equal to the number of times you killed them to gain this rep.
Even with all this there are still ways to game the system. What is there to prevent a couple of friends from donning PVP flags, fighting each other and maxing their rep, then going on a killing spree until they are -7400, and repeating? There need to be some time constraints on reputation gain, otherwise it becomes a bottable or AFK process. Gaining reputation needs to require the individual to be present and active as well. Flying an Outlaw flag while you are logged in, in the hideout, but AFK because you are logged into EVE or MWO shouldn't gain any rep.
Handling reputation loss is easy. The situations that this happens in are easily definable. So how should reputation be gained? Well, through meaningful PVP of course! Should reputation be gained through active events, or should it be through potential events as well? What is meaningful PVP? How can meaningful PVP be separated and identified as distinct from attempts to game the system?
Here are some meaningful PVP encounters:
Some of these may not involve two parties that are individually PVP flagged, but they are valid encounters. Raids on POI/gathering camps, Bounty Hunters vs Outlaws, Wartime trespassers, Escalation Defense, and Assassinations all may thrust a potentially unprepared, or unwilling participant into a PVP situation. Some solutions might be:
Raids on POI/gathering camps - The raiders fly a 'Raider' flag. As with most PVP flags, this means anyone may attack them without a reputation penalty, but the raider may not initiate combat against anyone not flying a PVP flag. A Raid is similar to Stand and Deliver, but issued against a static target rather than a character. The raiders may take a percentage of the goods from the structure, or they may choose to attack it to destroy it.
Bounty hunters vs Outlaws - If someone has a bounty on them, they've done something to deserve it. A bounty hunter may attack their target, regardless of the target's PVP flag status, as though they were flying a flag. If you have a bounty against you, you shouldn't be able to assume you are safe anywhere.
Wartime Trespassers - Neutral parties in a war zone are not neutral. Entering a war zone should provide a warning beforehand. Anyone in a warzone is a valid target.
Assassinations - Someone targeted by an assassin receives a warning that they are being observed and targeted. They have an option to get out.
Escalation Defense - If someone is attempting to maintain an escalation to use it to harass an area, it stands to reason that they may want to keep people from directly combating it. Escalation defenders flag themselves for PVP in an escalation area, and may attack anyone in the escalation area. If you are attempting to quell an escalation, you should prepare to meet not only the NPCs, but also their PC defenders. Note that this Escalation Defense does not necessarily mean that the escalation NPCs will ignore the defenders.
For a more abstracted version, just apply some vector addition and keep a single vector value for a given spot. When someone tracks over it, add their vector to the site vector. In-game, if someone is tracking they see, perhaps, an arrow pointing in the direction of the vector and using it's magnitude as either a color or size variation.
I will grant that individuals do develop recognizable tracks based on sole/tread markings and gait, however, tracking an individual based on this requires at the very least a certainty that the identifiers do indeed belong to the target individual. Unless you can mark them with a spell or something like a dye pouch, or even a wound, then identifying them from tracks alone, especially on a well-traveled surface is extremely difficult.
In my experience, if you are attempting to move in such a way that you leave either minimal tracks or mask your tracks, you are a) moving more slowly than normal, and b) not carrying much of a load. In my opinion PCs should leave tracks, and if Donald the Chaotic/Idiot Bandit decides to unwittingly lead the way back to the hideout, well, there ya go!
Tracks/spoor fade naturally due to weathering according to the environmental conditions as well as traffic over top of them. Generally the tracks would only be visible to those actively looking for/following them, and anything below a threshold (determined by the skill of the tracker) would be invisible to the tracker.
Tracks themselves are limited in the information they can give, arbitrarily I would say creature size, maybe even race, intensity, and direction of movement. Hidden data would be an intensity timestamp. To reduce load on a server tracks would be placed every X ticks, setting an intensity based on the creature's movement (running, walking, skulking), skill, terrain condition (possibly), and encumbrance, a direction of travel, and the timestamp. When someone actively tracking scans the area the intensity is adjusted by the age of the track and the amount and intensity of activity over it. The timestamp is updated when the intensity is adjusted, and when the intensity is 0, the track is removed. Additionally the timestamp entries could be indexed so a cleanup process serverside could quickly and efficiently remove those old enough to render their intensity zero.
This way tracking an old trail or one that is frequently used is difficult if not impossible
Tracking isn't an activity that targets a creature, instead it targets an area immediately around the tracker, and it's up to them to interpret the data. To this end, the system should only present the data, not interpret it for a character.
The only advantage there should be to group gathering vs solo gathering is, well, there's a group doing the gathering, so there should nominally be some protection for any or all of the gathering sites.
Any mini-games should be strategy-based rather than twitch. Probably configure the games to be done in stages or objectives, with each stage or objective completion giving a reduction in process time. That way it's not an all or nothing event. As an example, using a codebreaker style mini-game, you could have it be endlessly repeating and every time a code is broken you get the time reduction. Other types of mini-games could be similar to an infinite bejeweled where the bigger your streak, the more time is reduced. A minesweeper style game could include locating bonus squares while avoiding the penalty squares. Make bonus squares per level multiplicative, so the more bonus squares you find in a level, the bigger your time reduction. Time reduction happens immediately when the bonus square is located. If you find a penalty square, the board and bonus multipliers reset.
Edit: Only the camp manager, the character who set the camp, can access the mini-game.
Pipebombing is why I do most of my lowsec travelling via wormholes :)
That being said, all falcons should be pipebombed. Repetedly. With prejudice.
RPK is an awful term because what may appear random to one person may not be random to another. I prefer WPWTPK (Wrong Place Wrong Time Player Kill). Granted, it's not as succinct, but it's infinitely more appropriate . I've been WPWT'd many a time myself. It pretty much covers the situation in all of my lossmails.
With gathering, I hope GW moves away from the single character gatherer that pervades the genre. Rather than 'Hit <node> with <tool>', have a kit that the character deploys on a node (type appropriate for the node). The resultant structure is destructible and reclaimable. The kit determines how fast the resource is harvested and the product can be pulled from the structure at any time for transport. The node produces a variable but finite amount of material. The Kits themselves would, ideally, be customizable with different gear and NPCs, both gatherers and guards. Gatherers are hired and have an associated price. If you have slaves, you could use them instead, increasing your evilness but decreasing the cost of your kit.
This, especially with a mini-game that speeds up gathering, would encourage different 'breeds' of gatherer. First you have the Traditionalist. Their goal is to gather as much material as fast as possible. They will be the ones to make the most of the mini-game, and will be equipped to either hit multiple (pre-scouted) nodes and carry all the materials back at once, or make multiple smaller trips. Their kits would likely be equipped to maximize gathering speed at the expense of durability, and would have minimal or no npc guard support.
The Adventurer, on the other hand, is one that sets up a kit as secondary to their main activity. They maximize their guards, use cheap labor and gear, and if the node gets looted or destroyed, well, so be it. Whatever their camp gathers while they are out dealing with an escalation or exploring is just gravy.
The Specialist is a bit different. They will equip multiple kits, each with a balanced NPC complement and average gear, and will set these up on multiple nodes in close proximity. They will either rove between the nodes, providing a roaming guard, or they will use the mini-game to adjust the timers to come out in such a manner that the kits can be packed up and transported sequentially. These gatherers are more likely to work with other PCs, likely other gatherers, to pool their resources and provide a stronger defense when and where it's needed.
The Ninja is a combination scout and gatherer, specializing in gathering a small amount of high-value material from an area nominally claimed by someone else, or from deep in the wilderness. They are likely to equip their kit to be cheap, with the maximum amount of gatherers and little to no guards. They will either play the mini-game or set up as a lone guard. At the first sign of trouble they will pack up or destroy the kit, taking whatever they have gathered, and flee.
By decoupling the gathering from the character themselves, the predator/prey relationship that between PVP and PVE gatherers which pervades most PVP MMOs can shift. A gatherer doesn't need to 'gimp' their gear to gather. They don't need to make themselves vulnerable, and they don't need to root themselves to a single spot. They may choose to, to gain some benefits, but it's not a requirement. The gathering camps could even be used as a honey pot, attracting NPC and PC raiders to be ambushed.
I always liked the idea of having an optional mini-game that, if you preformed well, gave a reward of reduced processing time. In the game you are not (generally) the one doing the work. Instead you are supervising your invisible workers in their tasks. Your attention will be on the mini-game, so you will be less likely to spot an ambush, but if you can reduce your time at the node by 10%, that's a fairly significant time savings. For refiners and crafters the ambush part of the equation is less important, but a time savings means you have more throughput.
There's a fair few simple games that could be used in one form or another. Minesweeper, codebreaker, blackbox, entanglement, and bejeweled, for example. Galaxy on Fire 2 has a fun mining mini-game that dictated your asteroid mining yield. You had a 'drill bit' that would move about the screen, and by tilting the device (or moving the mouse, or keys) you constantly re-position the bit toward the center. Concentric rings formed a 'bullseye' and as you depleted the asteroid the outer rings would disappear. If the drill bit spent a certain amount of time outside the target area the mining would terminate (and the asteroid would explode), leaving you with whatever you had managed to harvest. The more valuable the rock, the narrower the target area would be and the drill bit would bounce around more erratically.
The idea isn't to make harvesting, refining, or crafting a 'set it and forget it' or AFK operation, you could establish your lumber camp and then go off to fight goblins, but if you are a dedicated gatherer, refiner, or craftsman, you would have something fun that you could do to increase your yield.
also, it is a pretty tough thing to do with any client since you are using data packages from the same client to be sent to the server and it can mess up things
Logging into a server with two instances of the client on the same system isn't terribly difficult, provided the client and server communication is written to accept it. I've written some client/server applications that handled it without any cross-talk. I even did it with two different logins from the same client instance with no cross-talk.
There will always be reasons to have multiple accounts, regardless of the incentives to use a single account. Ryan's post touched on many of these. It's not a failure of the incentive structure, it's simply that the strategic advantage it grants outweighs the cons in some cases.
Excellent production, Areks and Krow, and a very nice overview of the info from GenCon. I'm looking forward to where Tork will be taking Influence, it has such potential to drive meaningful interactions from the individual to the settlement levels, and beyond!
Coin and loot is going to be interesting in EE. There will always be coin faucets in the game, though OE and EE may have different sources. Quests (Kill 10 rats, anyone?) and NPCs purchasing crafting materials or salvaged loot for example. I'm curious to see what other coin faucets are utilized, and what the corresponding sinks are.
It was probably IsBoxer. There are videos of a single person running an incursion fleet with it.
Alts are definitely going to happen, I plan on using a bunch myself for various activities (mostly related to data collection and logistics). The biggest thing is to not have alts be a requirement to succeed.