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Exactly. They might make it so you can break into NPC houses and steal things and do things and occasionally have you find very valuable items. Doing so could lower the prosperity level of the town you steal it in, and raise the wealth of the town you fence it in, if you don't sell it to another player.
But by no means should players have to worry about all their items getting ripped of when they are in bed. Losing all you have worked for should involve catapults, expensive ammo, and lots of time. Not a few minutes and a lockpick.
Brady Blankemeyer wrote:
I think it's the fun factor in trying to get into a high security place to steal the family jewels. If they would allow us to bust into a kingdom and steal from the npc king or mayor. Now that would be a fun activity for rogues.
Its about the only way it makes sense for the Rogues to get to do their schtick.
Knavery is just something best handled as a PvE mechanic, and could be handled by instanced gameplay. You go to the guild, pick a 'mission' and then go to the instance and carry out the task, whether it is a burglary or assassination, whatever... this has been done well in EQ2 and Lotro, so I don't see why it couldn't be done in PF.
That said, its a LOT of resources they'd need to dedicate on the basis of indulging 2-3 classes with one of the lowest play rates, I am not sure they'd seriously put that much into it rather than it just be a side oddity.
It would be pretty cool if there were some kind of in-game Wealth score for your house, and an in-game benefit to having a high Wealth score for your house (faction standing, certain Diplomacy skills). That way Thieves could steal from Wealthy houses without actually getting access to the specific items the player placed there, unless they went through a much, much more expensive process that would only be worthwhile if they knew there was something of extreme value being stored there when it should really have been stored in a Fort or Settlement Vault.
Yeah that's what expansions are for; a whole expansion dedicated to archetypes specific missions to test their skills to the extreme. :)
PvP Thievery should not happen, period.
I don' think the various balance suggestions given throguhout this thread will work.
In an MMO anything that can happen somewhat reliably will happen. So making thieving "real hard and costly" will either cause your most expensive stuff to be stolen or cause wasted dev time as noone will bother with thieving. Both are bad.
Making thieving only possible "if you make a mistake" means only noobs will suffer - bad idea as well.
Classic thievery is done alone or in the company of other thieves. Does not really fit into a group oriented game. If thievery means simply that you need someone with pick lock for a normal PvE Group Encounter this is a bit cheesy and superfluous.
So no, I can't see PvE thieving as a own minigame for a single class (or the trainers of a singular skill) to be in the game.
So making thieving "real hard and costly" will either cause your most expensive stuff to be stolen or cause wasted dev time as noone will bother with thieving. Both are bad.
This doesn't hold up to the "balance suggestions" I've proposed.
1. General Thievery would allow thieves to gain wealth by stealing the abstract wealth of a house. This would no doubt happen often enough to make the development effort worthwhile.
2. Item Thievery would be costly enough that it wouldn't be "your most expensive stuff" that was stolen, it would be stuff that was worth more than the cost of stealing it. This won't happen often, and it wouldn't happen to newbies unless they're given something ridiculously valuable.
Classic thievery is done alone or in the company of other thieves. Does not really fit into a group oriented game.
I would imagine there are a lot of players who intend to play Rangers/Scouts who don't view this game quite the same way you do.
I would also imagine there will be a fairly significant number of Hideouts manned by solo Thieves who patiently wait for the right target.
"Group oriented" doesn't mean "no room for soloing".
The difficulty and expense of stealing items from another player should be balanced so that the thief would only ever consider it for something that really shouldn't be stored in a player's house.
This stuff that shouldn't be stored in a player's house - where should it be stored?
- An impenetrable NPC bank that uses tech and magic not available to players?
- A mule character that serves the player like some cross between a genie and a porter, appearing from thin air when the player needs to store or withdraw items?
I have mixed feeling here - I'm usually a big proponent for realism. I think the reality is that players will demand some secure storage - and frankly, if their coin will be 100% secure by fiat, why not everything else? Players *will* use the mules if secure storage is not available.
The debate seems to be about how thievery would be implemented in some sort of fair, playable way, but I think that's the wrong locus. Based on the goblinworks blog, I think the right question is where thievery will be allowed.
In the blog, the Dev's outline a where schema for anti-social behavior--three concentric rings around settlements.
1. Within settlements you can't attack other players: "In the hexes containing and immediately adjacent to the NPC settlement, magical effects make it impossible for one character to attack another unless the characters are in war." If they treat robbing someone as an attack, you won't be robbing houses in settlements.
2. Adjacent to settlements you can make attacks, but that flags you, and you may or may not be successful in your anti-social behavior: "NPC marshals will respond to acts of aggression near their settlement by traveling to the location of the infraction and killing the aggressor. ...the intent of this system is to create a zone where an attack on a target may succeed... but the attacker will almost always be slain as well." This may or not map onto robbing someone.
3. This creates two banded zones around each settlement, each with increasing danger,"until you emerge fully into the uncontrolled wilderness where the highest-valued resources and PvE content will be found." Apparently in the wilderness, anything goes.
That's a workable schema: in town you're safe, but you know what? That mithril mining camp you're working on? A good thief could sneak in, and rob you you blind. That shipment of high end gems you've created? Maybe somewhere along the road, several packages "fall off the wagon" into an enterprising thief's hands.
This zones of risk model from goblin works is their attempt to balance out play:
While I certainly understand the banditry portion of things, it still goes to question, how does one ballance the risk/reward factor to a high enough level that the risk is still present. The biggest problem of theft is simultaneously making it possible enough to be fun for low/mid level thieves, yet not become simple enough that perfectly built thieves just wind up 100% of the time rob everyone they feel like and never get caught. Combat has all kinds of active variables which leave bandits open to huge surprises. Theft on the other hand is entirely up to the defenders passives. Which leads to all kinds of nightmares.
Stealing shouldn't be easy to get off, it shouldn't be as easy as paying a fine or getting a bounty on you.
I want to see serious risk, and the risk/reward should be heavy on the risk and light on the reward. So if i have two choices: 1. Rob a player, and 2. Raid an NPC camp, the rewards should be the same, but the risk should be lower for #2.
The penalty for getting caught should account for all damages and time lost by the damaged party.
I wouldn't mind seeing a jail type system where a player is unable to train skills for a set amount of time, and would go as far as forcing them to burn skill training time.
This would only happen when you are in lawful territory, or the controlling charter has declared laws against criminal acts in their territory. And i want to see charters able to set laws for their claimed territory.
@Valkenr, I generally agree. Also, stealing from buildings in settlements should affect NPC morale/settlement efficiency. If there are thieves active, people get nervous about each other and don't work together as well.
Side note - I think it's interesting that in many cultures, stealing was a serious wrong, right up there with murder. It makes sense though, when people are living on the edge of survival. A thief can tip a person from the "survived the winter" group into the "starved in the cold" group.
Stealing from the poor would be an evil act according to most moral codes. So at the least, thieving from newbie players in player settlements could be prohibited, if the law code is set up that way.
Mr. RD already said that you must protect your camp because banditry could happen.
This implies that you can protect your camp with NPCs from banditry. These guards will likely be strong enough that a single passerby bandit would stand no chance or else the concept of camps would be useless for anyone except a large guild with players on guard duty 24/7.
Now enter Thievery.
By definition thievery is stealthy and done by lone thieves.
Now we have the situation that we should avoid. Any lone passerby with enough Skilltraining in "Stealth" and "Thievery" can "rob you blind" and you can't do jack against it.
Will. Not. Work.
What you all should understand that if this option is in the game and it is profitable, then there will be hundreds and hundreds of thieves.
In the above example a thief would log on and cruise around known camps trying to steal. If he does not make his check he would continue to the next camp. This would happen a hundred times at each and every "night" for each and every camp.
So your stuff would be stolen, always.
That means you'll be moving a lot of material from place to place, and that means you'll need to be ready to manage networks of caravans, guards, and potentially, agents to buy and sell on your behalf.
However I don't think it specifically cites guards anywhere else in the blog except there. So camps might not have guards. Wagons almost surely will.
I would assume based off that, that camps are likely to have guards. Or at least watch-towers are likely to have guards that will protect camps.
I also have to point out that it is pure assuming that by guards, Ryan is reffering to NPCs. It is also within the realm of possibility that he is meaning players who are taking the role of guarding the location.
I am not saying this is the case, or even that this is probably the case. Just pointing out that he did not use the word NPC in that statement.
True, we really don't know by now but attackable camps that need to be up for quite some time to produce revenue would require protection.
Not having NPC guards to deter casual aggresion so common in MMOs means that even basic resource gathering would be a thing that could only be undertaken by a well organized group.
I'm pretty sure he was referring to player guards. I could be wrong, though.
So while a lot of people have argued both for and against "Impregnable" lockboxes in which to store important items, I have yet to see anyone take a look at thievery from an economic perspective rather than a 'in game mechanic/fairness' perspective.
WARNING: Massive wall of text follows!
With reference to the blog about coin and economics:
This game, unlike many popular MMO's is going to have a virtual economy and not a simulated economy.
That means, the amount of money that exists in the world is finite and known.
People have mentioned NPC run banks which have fee's for holding items to keep them safe. Consider the following. In the real world, if you have money in a bank, it is the bank's responsibility to keep it safe. If you are robbed, the bank is responsible for reimbursing you for a very significant portion (if not all) of what was taken from you.
Additionally, in real life, it is possible IN THEORY for anything to be robbed. With enough time, money, planning, and possibly inside men, anything can be accomplished.
Now, for the purposes of this game, NPC banks which are receiving gold from those using their services, are capable of using this gold to 1: reimburse players for stolen goods, and 2: increase security.
For that reason I propose examination of the following flow of money in game: (Using the starting value of 4500 players that goblin works is aiming for)
A given NPC bank has 4500 patrons. 5% of the value of the bank vault's contents is charged a week. If the average value of each vault/strongbox is 500 gold, every week, that bank makes 112500 gold in fee's for keeping items safe (25 gold a week x 4500 patrons).
In order for this bank to remain in business and retain even 50% of their earnings, and the bank has an agreement for reimbursing 100% of the value of the stolen contents from anything within, they need to prevent more than 56250 gold of items from being stolen in a week.
If in this universe, 10% of all PC's are players capable of stealing, and 50% of all PC's are evil aligned (would commit crimes) there are approximately 225 characters who are thieves who would rob a bank.
But if in order to have any chance of breaking into even the weakest strongbox in an NPC bank one had to be at least level 10, and there is an approximately normal level distribution for PC's, then around 130 thieves are actually capable of robbing a bank (to some extent).
The average level of those 130 thieves is around 13.5 making the average rolls of the collective bank robbing individuals is about equal to 30.5 (assuming pathfinder skill ranks, masterwork tools, and a +2 from ability mod).
Now let's make the DC of breaking into a strongbox/vault proportional to the value of it's contents, and on a robbery attempt, a thief stole an amount of money (or items worth an amount of money) based on their roll.
If the average roll is 30.5, performed by 130 thieves, totaling no more than 56250 gold, then the DC of a storage box is 1 for every 14 gold contained, (with an average DC of 35)
If the bank increases it's security every time something is stolen (proportional of course to the value of the stolen item), and we abstract that to dictate that a given thief can rob a bank only once a week, then this works out just fine.
The end result is that players who are 'trusting' a bank with their items have what is effectively impregnable vaults in which to store items, while still allowing a thief to technically 'steal' an item.
One additional option that might increase immersion without really harming the individuals who use banks is that items stored in a vault have their value estimated based on the 'average' market price for that item, and in a given week, based on the value of goods that were stolen, a random items might be converted into their gold equivalent.
The more expensive the item, the lower chance it has of being stolen obviously, because as we previously established the security of a vault is proportionate to the value of it's contents. For example a 430g item would have a 1.5% chance of being stolen in a given week.
Now, it's immediately apparent that the real world doesn't always follow normal distributions and averages, and enough players who want to rob banks will dedicate themselves to increasing the amount that they are capable of stealing.
However, the point remains that PC's using a bank have REASONABLE certainty that their expensive items will be kept safe, and if they aren't kept safe, they'll probably lose a small percentage of the item's value in the process of being reimbursed at 'average market price' and then having to pay for a replacement+shipping.
Overall though, a given player would have a 3% chance of being robbed in a given week, and if they WERE robbed, they would lose at MOST 10% of the value of an item in their bank, and absolutely nothing if all that was stolen was money (which can be replaced 100%).
So if all of these values hold constant for an entire YEAR of playing, you would have something like a 22% chance of not being robbed at all, and if you were, the impact on your money/items would be limited.
And all of this number crunching is completely ignoring the option of PC's to pay extra to increase the security of their strongboxes beyond the default, as well as the possibility of NPC's using a bank. The first would affect the 'average' DC of the bank by raising it and thereby decreasing the amount of money a thief can get for a given check, and the latter would increase the total gold pool in the bank, which would increase the amount of money a PC could make while decreasing the chances a PC has of being robbed.
If NPC's have moods or morale, every robbery could have very negative effects on NPC usage of the bank, the bank's security, and the overall stability of a settlement.
I imagine player created settlements could have bank structures with vaults whose difficulty to break into is proportional to the security measures implemented by that settlement. If enough players USE the bank, (probably utilizing the contract system mentioned in the blog) then the overall security of the bank increases therefore decreasing the chance of it being broken into.
Ultimately, a single bank, making massive amounts of gold from a very large number of people could make itself impregnable to all but the most masterful of thieves, and even then the bank would be making more than enough money to cover whatever was stolen.
For those of you who argue that as the game progresses more and more players will be at that extremely high level and therefore capable of stealing from even the most high security banks thereby rendering them useless, consider this:
REGARDLESS, players would experience next to no net-loss of 'secure' item value.
TLDR: In real life banks reimburse people when things/money are stolen to the best of their ability. In game banks, can be capable of the same thing. Thieves can still steal items/coin from a bank to make money, while preventing players from losing their hard earned items/coin.
Bank robbing should be something that requires a character with 20th badge rogue and a magic archetype specializing in detecting and dispelling protections. Thieves should have to stick to robbing things like hideouts, and inns for a few years. Also there cant' be next to no net-loss. If a bank gets cleaned out, they won't have anything to give to their customers, and banks are allowed to generate cash, all you do is inflate prices.
The problem is: if Goblinworks want's to allow thievery they can't punish it correctly. You cant send an account to jail, or force an account to do community service, you just end up losing a player once they get punished. Virtual punishment never works and all you can do is slap them on the wrist if they are playing smart. If you got caught robbing a house, would you want to play the 'prison-labor' mini-game for the nest 200 game hours? Or stop playing? If you murder someone and get a life sentence, do you want to play the 'prison-labor' game until you quit? With a relatively tame death penalty, any high risk activity isn't as high as it should be.
IMO player to player indirect thievery(robbing storage) should be at the bottom of the 'things to do if there is extra time after launch list'. Thieves from the game start should be the people that attack the people harvesting/dungeon crawling in lawless territory.
Robbing hideouts, caravans or Inns are not a class thing IMO. This is regular banditry, bush ranger, highwayman activity that anyone with questionable ethics can take part in. Thievery IMO is a different kettle of fish entirely and involves actively avoiding confrontation to aqcuire goods. Basic thievery should be limited to pick pocketing items that can be stolen incognito and easily concealed, a pouch of coins, gems or a dagger should be the limit. I would hate to see thievery like Mortal Online where someone could steal a stack of crafting resources, or thievery like other RPGs where a player could somehow knock off and conceal a 2H sword.
Banditry and other large scale robbery should be high risk, with the reward depending on the shipment. I am in High favor of Valkenr's suggested skill progression lock as punishment for thievery because let's face it, a pick pocket rarely gets rich and rarely amount to anything in life, that's why they're pickpockets. It would simulate gaol time without actually locking someone in a cell.
As for punishment for large scale robbery, well that's where bounties and caravan guards come in. I'm also in favor of full loot for this activity as the risk should be at the very least equal to the reward.
The main things we need to worry about:
-Map size vs Player Density
Effectively, unless the game world is so huge as to make the class with the highest perception, trapfinding, disarm and other thieving skills need to comb everything with a fine-toothed-comb in such a way that actually exploring, selling monster bits [you've GOTTA have heavy amounts of carving; killing a dragon should leave the entire party overloaded and begging the NPC carpenter for "just another cart". That makes things awesome], the entire game within the first weeks of launch would become more tightly owned by the goldsellers than in any other game, as they'd not only have a stranglehold on the economy, but also on the ability to progress, given how heavily pathfinder characters rely on items and equipment.
While it is nothing for a large, organized group to make a permanently, heavily guarded fortress [or hole in the ground with two players per shift controlling half the still-logged-in guild as guards or using bots], everyone else would be permanent victims of such predation.
When you give anonymous strangers the chance, they turn into massive douchebags. We all remember back in WoW, when whole guilds of 60s would be hunting the poor buggers 'round level 51 for free honor at no risk [anything more than 3-4 levels above you was functionally invulnerable even in the same equipment, unless you had like 20:1 odds and even then it wasn't certain], and all of the 80s and 85s that like nothing more than to spend their evenings keeping the questgivers and shopkeeps of low-level areas just to f%$& the lowbies.
There's nothing fun about having to deal with a crime and theft rate a hundred thousand times that of real life thanks to a combination of minimized [or non-existent] risk/punishment, versus a maximized ease of accomplishing the task and great rewards as well.
On Karthas077 Method:
Second, this assumes you CAN pay for it in the first place. Leaving aside artifacts, getting higher enchantments might be nowhere near quick and easy. If special materials were required for this purpose as well, there's also the time, and expenses involved in recovering these. And can you be sure it'll have exactly the combination of spells and enchants you wanted? Stuff is gonna dissapear that has people screaming every day across the forums.
The main issue, however, is the fact that we'd need Int and Wis <5 to assume for a moment that there won't be players absolutely dedicated to stealing as much as possible. Again; we're talking about what's most likely to be the best organized, most pervasive type of group: the folks who literally do this for a living, 8+ hours a day, with wages and/or salaries. Don't for a moment fool yourself; they will be pillaging everything they can, as much as they can, in shifts, every single minute of the day, so long as they're allowed to even try. Even harsh penalties probably won't mean much when the lockpick guy is backed by invisibility, two fighters around the corner just in case, and a mage with SoDs to deal with guards.
Unless something is mechanically preventing thieving attempts beyond a certain amount a week [and I mean programming greyed out buttons here], there is NO reason a given thieves guild would not empty out the entire bank whenever it damn well wants, over the course of several hours.
If stealth goes the typical stupid way of "its higher than your perception, plain sight doesn't matter, you are impossible to see", they can't even be targeted or stopped either. The bank couldn't possibly handle the loss of all its money every week without an influx of new virtual money.
Basically, your idea and concept are good, but they fail in the face of the simple facts of online games: there's organized douchebags, exploits and cheaters, and this would do little but save them the trouble of having to obtain account passwords.
I don't know where you got "losing ten percent of your money every night" from.
Even if HALF the 4500 players in the entire game were rogues, that would still only be 2250 robberies a week.
There's no way 2250 robberies a week can possibly equal every character loses 10% a day.
Furthermore, you don't need a greyed out button if the DC to rob a bank goes up every time you break into it. After a certain point even a nat 20 doesn't succeed.
If that principle works in P&P, it can be transferred to PFO.
Besides, why would you grey out a button when you can instead let the rogues go ahead and keep trying on a 10% success chance until they flag themselves criminals for pushing their luck.
Overall though, a given player would have a 3% chance of being robbed in a given week, and if they WERE robbed, they would lose at MOST 10% of the value of an item in their bank, and absolutely nothing if all that was stolen was money (which can be replaced 100%).
There's ten percent in value every time the item is stolen right there. Also under your system reimbursement assumes the bank is capable of doing so, as they'd be funding this from the payments of the players. Hope their safe is literally inaccessible, because we've seen exactly this happen back in EVE...
You must not assume 4500 players means 4500 characters. One need only figure out the optimal time-levelling-to-thieving-capacity ratio, and churn out as many Master-Tinker Gnome [or if the vaults are stone, Dwarf] rogue alts.
Two characters per dedicated thief? And this assumes they only get ONE theft a week by your numbers we're already at 4500. Four? 9000.
I doubt "flagged as a criminal" would be much of an issue; in most games, even those where you can go open-season on the 'red names' with no legal issues of your own, they don't get hunted anyways; those capable of dealing with those types are in their own damn guild anyhow, or about to be struck by several of them at a time. Unless there's real ['hardcore mode'] character consequences, you lose nothing doing this, and have everything to gain.
Jamie Charlan wrote:
I would suggest you re-read the blogs about bounty hunting and criminal flags.
No character with a criminal flag can go anywhere near a good-oriented settlement without being set upon by NPC guards.
Assuming good characters store their goods in good-oriented banks, which are located in good-oriented towns, it becomes unrealistic for a rogue who gets caught and therefore flagged by the system to even get into the settlement where the bank is located, let alone rob it repeatedly without fear of consequence from that flag.
i believe they've mentioned that character/guild(etc) bank accounts are pretty much 100% safe, not amenable to somebody going up to a 'bank' building and robbing it.
They mentioned they have plans for characters to have access to 100% secure storage, but have made no comment about how much can be stored in that location.
If 100% secure storage turns out to be insufficient to hold all your gear/equipment, alternative storage will be needed.
They have made no comment about the organizational structure, or the security of, player or NPC run banks, making this conversation still valid.
Player-friendly ways to implement thievery would be a daunting task indeed, and I don't envy GW in that regard. Of course, if I were to do it, I'd place either a definitive material cost or time cost on protecting valuables from prospective thieves. Do you want to store your items in a ultra-safe, guaranteed protection NPC bank? Go for it, but it will cost you a percentage of coin based on the stored items in that bank, on a regular basis. Want to build one of those ultra-safe vaults for your adventuring company? It'll take a concerted effort of gathering materiel and actual hand-labor to create one. But it doesn't stop there - there would be an upkeep cost, based on the amount of wealth stored in the vault. Of course, to make it worth time and money spent in creation, this upkeep would only be between a third amd a half of the percentage an NPC bank would charge you regularly. Of course, varying layers of protecting would also be available, such as magic locks, posted guards, or deadly traps; the idea being how far you'd be willing to go to keep your valuables out of hands of the unscrupulous. The point of this is, if you want to lock an opposing player out of a possible game-play option, then you should be willing to expend the resources necessary to counteract the fact that THAT player is losing out on an element of game-play which may be most entertaining to him. Naturally, the costs associated with item protection would allow for an organized crime element to rise. If a player with very important valuables wanted his items protected from potential crooks, he could pay the most notorious crime ring a "protection" fee, which would be a form of contract with a guarantee that none of their agents would steal from the client, as well as a promise that any independent thieves who wanted to try such things would "sleep with the fishes". This is just one of the neat scenarios which could possibly arise from this form of item security.
I would say as a quick rule of thumb when considering the amount of security an NPC shop owner would put into protecting his items consider using protection or deterrents worth no more then half the total value of the item. So for example the aforementioned case of +1 beer may only get a good lock inside a stone safe in the back while the mirror of soul trapping the gnome is also selling in a silent auction will have 100,000 gp in various locks, guards, spells, traps, and summon able monsters hooked to it to keep that rogue out!
As for PC home protection I would tell them to follow similar rules if they must keep their gear at home or offer something in world that could provide the same service like a bankers guild who focuses solely on the protection of others valuables. Good examples of this would be the dwarven dragonmarked house in eberron or the vault opulent of the prophets of kalistrade (theirs may be for religious purposes but I doubt it lacks the protections that one would want to look at to inspire them.) Another interesting one if you are willing to walk on the wild side is hiding it in a planar repository like in the vaults of erebus which comes with it's own advantages and disadvantages.
As with all things there must be balance and compromise. If it gets to the point where you spend more money on security than the value of the items stored - people will stop bothering.
The biggest lesson from UO which PFO will need to learn: people do not play a game to be victims.
The easier it is to steal/murder and the more commonplace such actions are the less players you will have. Less players, less victims, less income. Look at the final phase of UO where the anti-pvp servers emerged - they were swamped.
I'm looking forward to PFO coming out but I'd rather put up with a few immersion breaking things than try to play in a ghost town.
Thievery must have a cost, and a high one. Players who go out into the environment to gain material to build the community have a high risk. What risk does a rogue have if they can just walk up to bank, click "rob", and find out if they made money or not? With a low death penalty, there is no risk.
Secondly, if thievery is an option, as the game grows, what is to stop a player from creating a large number of characters, who all have a + 15 to their disable device (5 from dex, 1 from trait, 1 from rank, 3 from class skill, 3 from skill focus, 2 from masterwork tools)? Suddenly, all you have to do is walk a buck naked character up to a bank, holding only their tools, to have a 5% chance of looting the bank. That takes no skill, and yet runs the risk of stealing something valuable from a player.
TLDR: Banditry is fine. Theft is not.
I believe there would be a system in place to prevent such abuse. Of course, my belief is that in such a huge job such as a bank robbery, this would HAVE TO be a TEAM effort. Of course, one rogue could open the vault and take the stuff inside; but he would need a distraction, say a bard, a mage to assist in suppression of magical security systems in place, and a very stout character that can carry the loot while still being able to run a good pace. They would also need a mobile healer that can keep them alive while they escape, as well one backup team to help deal with those trying to prevent their escape, as well as another backup team traveling close to the escapees to replace the roles of any possible fallen. This level of organization would require a PC thieves' guild all working together towards that similar goal.
TL;DR - Robbing an NPC bank should NEVER be a solo effort.
TBH, if they want to create NPC banks to steal from, that is fine. But I do not like having items stolen without me being able to actively oppose that effort. Banditry? Sure, I know they will be coming and roughly when, and can act to keep my goods safe. With a thief, I can't actively try to stop it, and that would annoy me no end. He'd be playing against a static target for PvP.
The other problem is, once you get a few years into the game, what is to stop really good rogues from robbing new players blind, just because they can? Lastly, in towns, there are rules against PvP (the town guards knock you to pieces). Why would we let thievery (which is PvP) happen, but not banditry?
While it is more than possible for the dev's to make it impossible to steal with a fresh character, after all we don't even have confirmation that attributes effect anything other than skill training speed itself, ranks themselves will likely not exist at all at starting, feats etc... also not confirmed, and I think will most likely be trained seperately etc...)
That being said, I think the very core of the problem is based on the fact that all players hate things happening that are 100% outside of their control. Many people can tolerate banditry etc... because they can see the attack happening, and at least attempt to run/fight etc...
Guild assets being lost are also fine, because any guild that endevors towards building things up... should have and use the resources to make sure to have players/guards on at all times.
Players personal assets on the other hand... not so cool to lose when offline, with no chance for you or anyone to have any clue, until it is too late. Same goes for pickpocketing etc... Having no chance to defend yourself, or even any knowledge of the event until long after it is over, and the thief is long gone... is not fun. Imagine a DM running a tabletop game, where once a month when the players sleep, the DM goes "oh by the way an ethereal filcher just came and took an item from you while you slept.
Odds are if a DM does that more than once in a campaign, his players would be looking for a new DM.
ORRR...in 2.5 years, 2 hours and one minute, the game is invigorated bu the 99% of the players seeking justice from the few thieves who stole so much from them. I personally can envision a game dynamic enough to support a very robust set of tools for satisfaction.
They rob at night, log in at night, and not be around when players are. If it can be done, it will be done. First rule of MMOs.
If you'd checked my proposed system, you'd know that even the most rudimentary of bank would require something akin to a level 10 rogue to even have a chance of being robbed. Hardly something you can mass produce, especially given the real-time limitations on skill training.
While I disagree that it would HAVE to be a team effort, I agree with the premise. Namely that robbing a bank should be so difficult it is exceedingly impractical for a single player to pull off. The only reason I would say it doesn't NEED to require other people, is that the capabilities of a player at level 20, especially when they can hit the capstones for multiple archetypes, allows for a rogue 20/wizard 20 to disable magical and mundane traps, make himself invisible, move silently, and put the loot he's stealing into pocket dimensions.
That said, anti-magic spheres and locks that require specific magic keys can make it prohibitively difficult for even a 20/20 character to pull off alone. For any level of skill a thief might have, it's always possible to add more layers of security to a vault.
As we've mentioned several times in this thread, Dev's have guaranteed 100% secure methods of storage. The purpose of this thought experiment is for the discussion of stealing items which cannot reasonably be stored in that manner because of limited capacity or other reasons.
New players, prior to having a source of gold, would be unable to afford a good vault. As such, they would rely on their personal 100% secure storage until they got enough money to where they could protect their assets just like high level players.
Ultimately, people who are objecting to the concept of 'having their stuff taken when they were asleep' should re-read my proposal.
Things are stolen all the time in the real world, and the victims in question have even less of a guarantee of reimbursement than the characters in this game would have under my system.
Ultimately, how much are you REALLY sacrificing for the sake of realism if MAYBE once every other month or so, one of your items is stolen and replaced with gold (courtesy of the bank) sufficient to re-purchase the missing item at market value?
MAYBE 10-15 minutes of your time?
Is your time really so valuable that you can't afford to spend 10-15 minutes a MONTH for the sake of realism?
Not to mention, what penalty can sanely work, thieves can almost certainly very easily unload all of their pilfered goods onto a different character. Play on that character for a month, go back to the thief focusing on robbing a different bank/town after everyone has given up the hunt. Even if the thief could be killed after he's unloaded his goods, what "robust dynamic" can punish him... Take his empty wallet he's unloaded, and gear he's offshot... halt his already maxed in the one task he does skill training for a while? Subtract from his skill so that he has to be training it while he's off the character for the month he's laying low anyway?
Short of deleting the character so that the thief has to spend another 2.5 years retraining from the ground up... I can't fathom a penalty that actually will hinder him.
The idea that thieves would be immune to reprisals by simply logging out reminds me that it's been a while since I've pushed to keep characters inworld at all times, even when players are logged off.
Personally, I think it would be utterly fantastic to log off of my Ranger in the wilderness and have him turn into an NPC who sets up a camp, fishes a nearby stream, sets some small-game traps, and begins to acquire an inventory of pelts.
If my Ranger dies, then he dies, and I will probably lose my inventory. But I could do something similar in safer territory, and maybe build up a stockpile of scrolls, or of copper breastplates, or simply contribute to the NPC pool that powers things like Processing and Crafting.
I would be in favour of any stolen item or coin to be "marked" as "hot property" or stolen goods, making it lootable if the owner or receiver of stolen goods is killed or captured.
Ways to avoid pickpockets could range from Company or NPC Vaults at the high end or as small as superbly crafted pouches and backpacks that require a much higher pickpocket skill to gain access. These in addition to the 100% secure storage you get at the beginning.
If a player is unable to catch the Thief because he has logged off or fenced the item. There could be an Investigation skill that might be able to put together clues and mark the Thief after a certain time. A Thief marked can then have a bounty placed on them. Investigation could also lead the victim to the fence and eventually the items in question if the skill was high enough.
To build on that thought: Have the amount of time an item remains 'hot property' be proportionate to its value. Obviously more expensive items are more unique and more likely to be identified as stolen.
Furthermore, rather than allowing players to simply offload their goods and leave them there, have the timer for 'hot property' only progress while players are logged in on the character in possession of the item.
Bounties would be placed on the items (while they are still hot) and if a rogue with stolen goods is killed, the hot property is looted and can be returned for a reward. Alternatively, if the rogue chooses to offload the stolen goods into storage (perhaps one cannot place stolen goods into the 100% secure storage, necessitating the use of a bank or guild store-room) an inquisitor/Paladin/justiciar/etc. might be able to conduct impromptu searches of banks for stolen goods. Various skill ranks such as diplomacy, sense motive, perception, appraise, etc. might be placed in direct opposition to the skills of the thief who owns the bank, allowing for LN characters to earn money via recovery of stolen goods, just as a CN character can theoretically earn money stealing them. For obvious reasons there would be limits to how often a LN character can conduct an 'investigation' and limits to what he is able to find. In theory though the recovery rate for items would be somewhere around 50-75% (random numbers subject to balance). If a thief is good enough to get away with stealing something valuable for long enough to evade not only the NPC's but also PC's interested in recovering the items, they just invested effort into making money just like any other player. Just because it's 'illegal' doesn't make it non-viable for PFO. In fact, many Evil aligned acts are illegal. That doesn't prevent characters from exploring those options.
Well rare and valuable items are usually harder to fence because they take a longer time to find a buyer. Some buyers maybe unwilling to purchase an item stolen from a renowned assassin because they know the assassin will kill everyone who touched it, not just the person that stole it.
If you think about PnP skills such as local knowledge, investigation, intimidation, how they might translate into a Sandbox MMO Skill system. It could very well be possible to track down stolen items. On the other side of that coin, a good fence might be able to cover his tracks depending on the skill level. Someone trying to track down the item might uncover two or three of the people involved, but when the investigating player is out-skilled by the fencing player, his investigation comes to a halt with no more leads. Maybe the highly skilled fence could choose a few options that lead the investigating player to say... a red herring, a patsy or wild goose chase.