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The point is real though. The less you associate the set of pixels on your screen with another actual person, the less likely you are to be concerned with their emotional well-being or be considerate of them in any way.
The internet is rife with this, most of the lovely denizens of 4chan rarely treat others in real life with quite the same 'venom'.
The question of how to combat that in PFO is, I would have thought, a fair one. The tricky bit is where to draw the lines on unacceptable behaviour, especially when you are encouraging half your playerbase to take an 'evil' role.
As someone intending to play the bad guys, this is something I'm mindful of. And I think it's fair for people to be concerned. As to how effective a measure reputation will prove to be, until you trial it in-game I suggest it's pointless to worry overmuch.
What is more likely to curtail it however is a strong community who is, for the most part, united against griefing in general.
In Australia it's known as "Kill the dill with the pill".
It was quite a lot of fun ;)
As for the conversational side of things, its determined by a number of factors. The crowd-forging going on here on the forums will be little to no similarity how some guilds determine their directions internally, and none of this would be the same to how GW themselves come to their oen decisions.
It's one massive continuous conversation, going on in dozens of directions in different groups in different ways. Consensus is possible, but I expect it to be somewhat rare.
I'm interested to know more of GW's plans regarding activities that fall outside what's already been discussed.
Combat, whether it be PVE or PVP is a given and is a staple of MMO's.
So to is Crafting, and it's attached games of Economics.
Nation building is an announced element also, though a little further down the track.
What I'm thinking of is a little more esoteric, and could I guess, in parts be accused of falling into Themepark gameplay elements. To which I would counter yes they could be, but it would depend how there were implemented.
This fourth category is one I feel has been traditionally somewhat overlooked in MMO's, although some have had a few elements thereof, but none had all. I'll call it 'adventuring' elements and see what you think.
These elements are focused on giving players things to do outside of combat and crafting. So far I have: Exploration and Map Making, Thievery and traps, Magical Research, Religious Duties, Cultural Developments and Challenges of Strength.
Let me break them down further :
Exploration and Map Making - For players who choose to specialise in the outdoors and associated skills. It's difficult to really refelect how this works in a game unless you can in some way restrict players visibilty of the whole world, allow for a very real possibility of getting lost. It could be refelected by penalties to actions (or bonuse to the outdoorsman, the effect is the same) for operating in wild country. Perhaps monsters have smaller aggro radiuses to the woodsman, perhaps archery penalties are decreased, and the ability to actually create maps of your travels would all be ways of giving some advantage to our outdoor friendly friends and maybe lead to their discovery of hidden glens and crevices atht others missed. (This is also something that could be applicable to streetwise cityfolk in crowded streets and some dwarves in the darker dungeons of the River Kingdoms.)
Thievery and Traps - For the stealthier brethren perhaps there is just that little bit more to be found than the average adventurer can find. A keen eye, some quick wits and nimble fingers can access things no-one else can. This can be applicable in almost any situation. Hidden rooms unnearthed, dastardly traps avoided, and acrobatic skills emply to reach places others cannot. Essentially this looks at enabling ways for the Bards and Rogue inclined builds to have more to do than just be "dps and buffing".
Magical Research - For the more mystically inclined, perhaps there are certain things that cannot be discovered just by adventuring. Perhaps some arcane knowledge can only be unlocked through diligent experimentation and research. Golems built, spell effects discovered, strange portals opened to other planes of existence where all kinds of unique knowledge can be found. This looks to give magic inclined players some interesting ways to uncover lost knowledge. Unlocking gateways, finding lost tomes tucked away in old libraries, understanding more about that weird tube you just found in the liches lair.
Religious Duties - For the faithful, the Gods require many things to be raised in their estimation. Converting the common folk, uncovering lost religious artifacts, guarding places of great sanctity, confronting and purging the enemies of the other faiths. While the tenets of every being worshipped is different, all require certain acts be performed to ensure the ongoing spreading of the word. The paladin/cleric/monk/druid styles can all be represented here, giving them duties they can choose to perform outside of the hack'n'slash healbot roles we're all used to.
Cultural Developments - For the more artistically inclined, perhaps the populace is in need of culture. Songs can be written, works of art made, great deeds turned into epic odes, new interpretations, forms and styles are always waiting to be found. Perhaps a noble adventurer could yet uncover the next great wave of inspiration? Bard types especially would like this, and it can give players a very different and unusual way to contribute to the MMO.
Challenges of Strength - For the warrior/barbarian combat is mostly all, but the call of the great Black Knight/Dragon/Troll that rampages through the land can land to greater renown, and maybe a unique fighting talent or two learned in the process.
So as you can see I'm looking at ways of making progression a little more spicey and unpredicatble.
They key as I see it to making this work, is an element of randomality, otherwise it will be all over "GettingeverythinginPathfinderin30days.com" shortly after each element is located. That's a fair bit of work and I can see Ryan and his fellows declaring 'Southraven, you're Mad!' Which is true. However I'm still interested to know your thoughts on how feasible this might be, and if any of it actually interested you or is something you might like to see. Or can you think of any more?
Ryan is hitting the nail on the head with that one. The absolute key to immersion and continuing investment in any MMO is the social tools available through a Guild/Company/Corporation.
If I find a group of like-minded people and get into what I am doing, I am far more likely to stick around.
Its why GW2 kind of failed for me. It's a nice game, but nothing ever really compelled me to interact with others. I could have forced the issue and been more social myself, but it just never really seemed necessary. So I hit max level, ran out of immediate things to do, and quit.
If Pathfinder should aim to do anything, it is to continuously give players reasons to talk to each other. And it seems they are taking this path and it pleases me greatly.
They're definitely coming in Nih. The most recent one was Update #44 on the 14th of March. I'm pretty comfortable though that given the sheer volume of your contribution to the forums you really should just get it all regardless. :)
An extremely interesting blog. Combat is the sauce for a nice MMO dish. I am overall in favour of everything you posted, granularity is interesting, the keyword system is inspired and I like the concepts of strategy.
I do have a couple of quick questions though.
a) Given the six-second rounds and the predictable nature of no miss/no crit, how long do you envisage a standard combat actually taking? Whilst obviously no-one is a huge fan of being blicked, similarly fights averaging longer than 2 minutes can quickly become tedious. Do you have any ball-park figures on this?
b) I'm Australian, and as such typically have to play with a latency in the 200ms+ range. Given the focus on timing, how do you see someone on a distant connection faring?
c) As a prospective Rogue, how does backstabbing fit into this?
Wait 3 alts? What? There are hundreds of reasons to level an alt in this game. I really just do not understand what your issue here is. You seem to be just flat out ignoring the reasons, or completely misunderstanding how the system works.
Because each character's pools are unique. We're not talking a shared resource here.
Alt A gains 5000xp and so does Alt B.
If I spend all my Alt A points on a build of fighter, why on earth would I not look to do something completely different on Alt B?
You seem to be labouring under the misconception that certain skills are 'Must Have' for every character, but I see nothing in the game design that suggests that is the case. In point of fact, a fighter who uses lore skills in game is directly sacrificing his potential, as equipping a lore skill, and moving out of fighter based skills, reduces his fighting effectiveness. The mage alt has no such penalty, as the lore skils fall within his domain.
The old system is exactly the system EVE Online uses, and it relegates stats to a planning tool and nothing more. I personally like this new system, it means decisions can be made far more dynamically and gives me a lot more freedom to adjust my characters on the fly as the game evolves.
No your main gains XP at the same rate. That is not the same thing as gaining skills. XP is spent, at the players discretion on skills. Alt A does not, and probably never will, spend those points on the same skills.
1. They still do. As you increase skills relating to a stat it slowly increases.
2. This point baffles me. Progression along a full class path takes two and a half years (approximately). If my main is a Neutral Evil Rogue Aristocrat, my alt can be.. well literally anything else. If you're taking the long term view that they all get all the skills eventually, you are talking a DECADE of real time. During that time your two characters can and probably will be ridiculously varied, and with the sheer number of options in terms of class, alignment, and training options, even after a decade they could well be radically different.
Actually pretty easy to fix I think. When an enemy is defeated you give an option, kill or subdue. Both mechanically have similar results. One is deemed a good action, the other evil and it becomes a player decision.
I should have clarified also, I tend to think of the mechanics of games as two types. Met-game mechanics (such as attempting to control player behaviour) should not directly affect a player unless they themselves break a rule.
In-game mechanics such as alignment do affect a character, but in a way that they choose to to supplement their character.
To be honest, I genuinely believe the answer is staring us in the face on this. And indeed, Lee's excellent post on city reputations has kind of made it apparent to me.
Reputation should be the mechanic for attacking/griefing/being a jerk. This works well, is a meta-stat more for game policing and enforcement and hopefully 99% of the population will never really even know its there, as it will have little or no impact on them. Perhaps it is something that could start at 100% and then trend downwards as the reports flow in. It could also be something that 'very slowly' regenerates, allowing someone who started off being a ganking pain in the butt, a chance to redeem themselves and eventually re-join the community. It's essentially self-imposed jail-time. Oddly this means much less work for you guys, as the its the players own actions and interactions with others that lead to this.
Low reputation players get less access to resources and are gradually bled dry as they go lower and lower. This works just fine for me. Players should be able to nominate an attacker with a reputation hit as part of the 'death curse' mechanic. Someone killing noobs will have no rep real quick. Bounty options and death cursing would make this even less attractive.
Alignment itself should not have any mechanics associated with one way or another that directly affect players.
Law vs Chaos - It can be lowered to Chaotic through in-game actions, such as robbing, stealing, spying, trespassing, declaring war constantly with lawful entities or any other breaking of the rules set by a chartered company in their hex. It could be raised by joining a city guard, adhering to contracts, performing actions for Lawful dieties etc.
The outcome of this becomes how companies would then accept you or be willing to deal with you, but remains a) as a player role-playing opportunity and b) gives players with non-griefing chaotic tendencies a chance to play legitimately within the Out-Of-Game rules of Pathfinder Online.
Good vs Evil - Again you simply predetermine a list of legitimate in-game possibilities that can raise or lower the good/evil alignment axis. They can and should have different options as Lee pointed out when it comes to settlements but the important thing here is that both be viewed (in terms of the meta-game) as viable alternatives. Necromancy is evil, that's fine, you become more and more evil and good players can legitimately shun or try to attack you. Champions of good do the same. These actions by a player says "I invite the contest" and this leaves the decision in the players hands and remains a role-playing opportunity.
This means a genuine thieves guild of scum and villainy (and they do exist) could still actually function within the game as mercenaries, raging barbarian hordes can still work, and paladins can still go out and hunt their natural arch foes.
So what does this mean? You have two mechanics, alignment to generate role-playing and legitimate pvp systems between players, and reputation as a meta-mechanic to assist in controlling out-of-control player behaviour.
Alignment should be a role-playing and story-telling device. It has nothing to do with real life players misbehaving.
Please reconsider using alignment as a punishment system, as you are punishing half (well the way things are going more like 10%) of your playerbase for doing nothing more wrong than selecting an option during the character creation process.
One other thought, how on earth does a Chaotic Good society even function using this system?
Stephen Cheney wrote:
Thanks for the reply Stephen, it is good to get a sense of how you guys are approaching these issues.
It's obviously an uphill battle for us evil folks though. Alexander sums up the mentality, it's not griefing if good kills evil because they're supposed to.
You're not 'supposed' to grief anyone. Players with Good alignments will though, all the time. And they'll hide behind the veil of self-righteousness as they do it. I don't intend to participate in a race to the bottom myself, but I acknowledge others will.
It must be tough planning for this stuff. I'm very glad you're trying though.
A somewhat valid point Nihimon, I see where you are coming from. However not attacking first is something a 'roleplayer' would do. A 'griefer' has no such limitation. You will find plenty of good people attacking first, because they simply don't care about the alignment factor, or think they can go save some orphans afterwards to regain their lost alignment.
Which again draws us back to the mechanics of how alignment will actually work.
Stephen Cheney wrote:
As a prospective thief, thanks Stephen, I very much appreciate the effort you guys seem to be making (even if I sound a little shrieky at times!)
Vath Valorren wrote:
Ideas 2 and 3 are already stated as being in the game (although not necessarily at launch). Player run cities will determine their own laws and can dictate rules of engagement and conduct in their hex. Whether they can enforce them is another thing entirely.
The three starting locations will all be weighted to either good, neutral or evil and have different aspects, advantages, disadvantages and laws as a result.
Player alignment itself, and option 1, is where most of this discussion is coming from, as it is not very clearly defined as to how it will work in game. There have been some nebulous statements but nothing I would define as concrete. This may be because GW themselves don't know yet, or they do know but haven't mentioned it yet.
And it's the mechanics of how these alignments will work that we need to know. As it can greatly impact on a players daily life.
I completely concur with this. This is intended to be a question of mechanics and what seems, at face value anyway, to be a stacking of the deck to one side of the fence.
It probably isn't, there is probably more to this than we see, but it really needs someone from GW to say something on the matter to help clear it up.
Whilst your point is reasonable, the pidgeonholing of rogue into "high burst dps class" annoys the heck out of me. I don't want to play a 'high dps' build. I want to roleplay a thief.
This kind of number-crunching meta-gaming is what has absolutely driven the 'rpg' from mmorpg's. It has gone from characters to numbers. And that is something I desperately hope Paizo and GW are striving to correct.
I am fine with a 'surrender' mechanic. But again, it focuses on banditry alone.
I don't even want to be a bandit.
If I play a thief I want to break into buildings, dodge guards, pick locks and steal the plans you have for a new super-catapault. Or cross the moat, into the tallest tower and kidnap the maiden. Or steal the records to bribe a powerful merchant who has been gaming the system. there is so much more to thievery than just mugging someone in a remote location!
An evil cleric should be converting people to his cause! Desecrating holy temples, corrupting the weak!
An evil wizard could not have any interest at all in conquest, but just be focused on creating the 'perfect' abomination. Or trapping souls to power his magical constructs.
An evil warrior could still want to be the greatest swordsman in the land, so he hunts down any perceived as his competition and demands a duel to the death. Or just plain holds up a bridge and yell "None shall pass!"
It's not always about conquest, and its not always about stealing. At least it shouldn't be, it can be so much more fun, for myself AND yourself.
Am I The Only One? wrote:
You are confusing 'playing an evil character' with 'griefing other players'. I have this conversation almost every thread this comes up.
And you're being kind of nasty about it as well.
Summoning undead in a virtual world is a means to achieve power. A ranger summoning a horde of woodland creatures to aid him is exactly the same mechanic, but one is deemed evil and the other is good. One is punished in game and the other is not. Why? These are artificial constructs in an artificial world. That raising undead is, in the game world of Golarian, labelled evil. That is fine. That the online version comes complete with an a big flashing "Hey this guy over here did something evil!" when there is no actual way a normal player could know about it, is not fine as far as I am concerned.
I opened my post by saying I completely agree with the anti-griefing mechanics. I do not want to grief people, and I can assure you there will be plenty of griefers with a nice shiny "Good" sticker over their head.
Please look past in game appellations and recognise what I am talking about here is game balance, not a griefing tool.
You're quite correct and I am absolutely certain part of the issue here is that we don't have all the information. Thus my question to Ryan. I'm hoping he's not taking it as facetious line of questioning as it's not intended to be.
I'm curious about the good/evil thing only applying to NPC's though, where did you get that impression from?
Aeioun Plainsweed wrote:
I would be fine with it, if there was a corresponding flag for someone who summoned angels or saved orphans. The point is no so much that the flag exists, but that it only affects one single alignment.
Evil has a lot of things going against it already in this game. Why do they need more?
Neadenil Edam wrote:
The PFO Live Beta is a paid event, meaning progress and characters will be saved and usable after the main launch. This has already been promised as part of the Kickstarter early access privileges.
The beta part certainly does mean things can and will change, and I guess some progress could be lost or changes if skills you have trained in receive substantial overhauls or are removed, but that's just par for the course.
More importantly, why is banditry the only definition of 'roleplaying evil' that they seem to have?
Which is fine. What's not fine is everyone magically just "knowing about it" as soon as you see them
seriously?! I know this is about a game, but are you really b@@+*ing about not being able to be EVIL. Like it's some life choice like 'engineer' or 'marathon runner'. Evil represents everything foul and reprehensible about the human condition. It's a concept as much as a descriptor, and you WANT to play it? You're angry with the developers because they make being evil unpleasant?
Well ok, it's a game, not a life choice. And whether its good and evil, red or blue, black or white, I would like the sides to be fair. That is what I am asking about.
And like it or not, it is, currently, a choice. It's been an available choice since Basic Dungeons and Dragons. What's hard to understand about that?
Last I heard it, it's mainly chaotic that weakens settlements, and makes it harder to get good training buildings or some such, not evil. That and on a few other points, either I'm confused or a lot of people are confusing chaotic with evil.
There are three primary starting settlements, one evil, one neutral and one good.
The evil one will not have trainers of the same quality of the other two was how I was led to understand it working. However I cannot find the original reference to it so if someone can and I'm wrong I'll happily cede that point.
Some discussion of stealth is located here :
The original dicsussions were some time ago, and I haven't completely searched that thread to see if Ryan's final comments are in that one, but they are certainly discussing the fallout of said comments there.
Alright so first off, I completely understand that the tag system is primarily to stop griefers from making everyone's life hell. I am all for this.
My problem is the Heinous Tag.
I'm really not sure what you guys are thinking with regards to Evil being an actual viable option in this game. You've mentioned already that training will be harder. Now you're providing a glowing neon sign for everyone to see "Hey check out how evil this guy is!" for absolutely no in-game reason. And then giving everyone a free shot at him.
Unless you're intending to include a "Paragon" tag for someone so sickeningly good to also be a valid target it just seems to be the developers actively choosing Good aligned companies as their 'side' in any war.
Now I may be jumping the gun here, but so far you've said very little other than negative things for people wanting to play the side of evil. Even some terminology when discussing alignments has suggested evil is a bbad thing to have happen to your character. 'You get hit with an alignment penalty'. Penalty? So falling to evil is a bad thing and is to be discouraged? In fact if anything you almost seem to be trying to artificially limit how many people do by placing multiple roadblocks in our way. If that's the case why even have 'Evil' alignments in the game at all?
There's apparently not going to be any stealth mechanics because it's too hard, so classic evil thievery or spying is out, necromancy and demonology now generates an 'auto flag for death' and on top of all this, we have a harder time training for skills?
It seems that you've decided evil people should be bandits who rob caravans and that's all. Which seems to be so frustratingly limiting as to not be attractive at all. If I am wrong and you have all kinds of crazy fun ideas for evil players I would love to hear them, and you may not intend this at all, but right now the message seems to be "Go good or go home."
There's been a number of fiercely contested topics on this subject, across the forums and back again. This is not a thread where I want to rehash those arguments with players, this a serious question to Ryan and his crew, do you envisage that people playing evil characters are detrimental to the game and should be discouraged? And if so why keep them? And if not, why are you making their lives so hard comparably to good players?
This treaty is is of no concern to me, nor would I be part of it.
What is interesting is that The Empyrean Order is going out of its way to ensure that Goonswarm targets them first and foremost. Saying things like "We are the enforcers of good" and "We are the biggest guild in PFO" is just red rags to a bull for them.
You're not the biggest guild, they are. They're just not here yet.
That being said, if TEO can get itself organised, the fighting could be the stuff of legends. Maybe you could finally do what no-one else in any game anywhere ever has managed. Maybe you could finally stop the Goonswarm.
It will be interesting.
There is an implication, although I don't think it's ever been said outright, that crafting skills will form their own 'paths'. So by selecting crafting abilities you are effectively multi-classing and taking the penalties of time associated with that.
I say this based on the wording of the Destiny's Twin reward in the Kickstarter
"As a special feature of Adventurer accounts, you'll be able to have two characters training skills at the same time! While one character is learning how to master the martial arts and gain renown as a warrior, your other character can be learning the intricacies of the crafting system and earning a name as an industrial powerhouse"
While I guess you could do this at once, the implication is that the 'crafting alt' would normally be a completely separate character
Now out of character...
Paizo will have out of game penalties and mechanics for dealing with griefing. You certainly have made it known you plan to be GW's knight in the field, which I have mixed feelings about, as I have no idea who you are, how impartial you actually are, and whether or not you will yourself, eventually become something of a despot.
You do come off as somewhat aggressive and a little bit self-righteous in your posting. I'm not going to judge you on that, I can't speak for your intentions and I certainly am not looking for conflict here. What I am looking for, is a chance to have fun, testing my wits and skills against other players. In game we may never cross paths, and I wish you and Darth_Panic an enjoyable time.
[IC]Judge, jury and executioner. You really should be Lawful Evil Andius. I see you in the role of the benevolent dictator, iron fist stamping out whatever you judge today to be incorrect behaviour!
I love it. I will be there the day you fall to my masters and offer yourself up to them joyously, weeping at the beauty of evil ;) [/IC]
Then you understand that regardless of a label of 'good' or 'evil' there will be conflict.
And already you adapt. This is good, surely you don't want the magic 'I Win' button, surely you wish to overcome challenges and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat like the heroes of old! If you defeat a worthy foe, surely it is a greater victory.
Considering the game is indeed, as you say, 1 and a half years away, how can a single forum post bully you into action now? That's a year and a half to build allegiances, negotiate, learn, and instead you would walk away because of one 'vaguely' aggressive post that may or may not ever actually result in any in-game interaction at all. Steel needs to be tempered, this is a chance to light the fires of your belly and an impetus to be better! How can you pass an opportunity like that?
This conversation is representative of the problems of role-playing 'evil' in a video game (or at all really).
Where is the line between 'role-playing' and 'being a jerk'?
Is it griefing if you repeatedly raid a player's caravans as he tries to send goods to a town your guild is besieging?
Is it griefing if you steal resources of a player because of no other reason than the opportunity was there and it was of benefit to you?
To properly roleplay evil against good players you do have to be at least a little 'adversarial'. In tabletops the GM always lets the players win eventually (unless he's a mean GM). In an MMO the only decider of who wins is who got the killing blow.
People who are playing good aligned guilds have certainly made no hesitation in stating they will 'hunt down and wipe out' evil players and are applauded. (Intriguingly they seem to be indicating they will be doing this right off the bat, regardless of whether or not the evil player has actually done anything to them. How.. 'good' of them...)
Evil players who do the same are accused of bullying and griefing.
I would like to play an evil character, and yes if necessary that would mean assassinating, stealing, opposing, ambushing, threatening, intimidating, whatever was appropriate (in the context of the game and my character). I would not mindlessly grief people, or roam aimlessly slaughtering. But if an opportunity to ambush and waylay came up, because of carelessness or poor planning, why should I not be able to play the character I intend?
I don't say any of this to be a jerk, I'm not out to ruin anyone else's fun, but unless we can allowed to be at least 'somewhat' evil, then there is no point in having them at all.
There'll still be conflict regardless, and people will accuse people of being jerks regardless of what alignment tag their character has.
Have you considered the possibility he is 'role-playing' in an effort to drum up some support for his planned guild?
I know it's almost a completely lost art in MMO's but really, he has hardly said anything offensive.