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Job Pools, Contributing while offline


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

So there seems to be a bit of interest in offline player activities, guarding and the like allowing players to become NPC characters while logged off. It has been brought up that this would be difficult on account of AI limitations and cpu requirements due to high amounts of persistent characters having to be loaded in high population areas. I support the inclusion of an in game option to preform limited NPC function while offline. I've got a few ideas to keep the AI and CPU limitations to a minimum.

I propose the creation of a "Job pool" system where at any point a play could "que" his or her character up to perform a Job, For my example I will use a guard. A player could go to an inn or guard post and sign up to work as a guard, queing up to be in the Job pool for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. At that point other players could hire the character based on a stat block with information like rank, name, companies he or she is a member of, number of guard shifts preformed and/or contracts broken, once hired they would be removed from the pool and their character would spawn as an NPC guard and perform as a NPC guard for a certain amount of time. With a Max amount of time of say 6 hours (one 24 hour PFO day/night cycle), meaning a player settlement would need to hire multiple shifts to keep constant protection. When queing up the player would have to choose a role to be hired as, i.e. melee guard, archer, scout, healer, or mage guard, each of these role would have some skill based requirements to que for. Someone smarter than me could come up with a better list with skill requirements when more info is available about what skills there are in PFO, so all basic archetypes could perform some role. A player would have to reque after each guard duty to rejoin the pool, preventing players from going offline for 6 months and coming back to loads of free coin. This system would prevent players skill timers from counting down while "on duty" and allow them to restart when despawning or going "off duty". Here is a basic example using melee and scout. (skill requirements assume a 1-5 rank skill system where 5 is the max skill rank)

Melee guard:
Your basic bruiser, bouncer and all around tough guy wields a mace stands around and looks mean until stuff hits the fan then pounds the problem to the ground, good choice for fighters and the like. Can be set a personal body guard or caravan guard and will stay within a certain range of the target they are protecting.

Melee Guard(rank 1): Requirements: Medium Armor, Martial Weapons rank 1

Melee guard(rank 2): Requirements: Heavy Armor, Martial Weapons rank 2

Melee guard(rank 3): Requirements: Heavy Armor, Martial Weapons rank 3

Melee guard(rank 4): Requirements: Heavy Armor, Martial Weapons rank 4

Melee guard(rank 5): Requirements: Heavy Armor, Martial Weapons rank 5

Scout:
Rides around a protected area looking for NPC mobs and incoming player forces does not engage in combat unless threatened, sends predefined reports to the captain of the guard in a player settlement, "Small group of orc raiders setting up a camp 2 miles to the northwest." , "Large player group spotted to the south 2 siege engines". The scout can then be ordered to engage, return to base or continue to watch covertly. In caravans travels ahead during fast travel and gives warnings if an ambush is discovered.

Scout(rank 1): Requirements: Tracking rank 1, Martial Weapons rank 1

Scout(rank 2): Requirements: Tracking rank 2, Martial Weapons rank 1, requires mount

Scout(rank 3): Requirements: Tracking rank 3, Martial Weapons rank 2, Stealth rank 1, requires mount

Scout(rank 4): Requirements: Tracking rank 4, Martial Weapons rank 2, Stealth rank 2, requires mount

Scout(rank 5): Requirements: Tracking rank 5, Martial Weapons rank 3, Stealth rank 3, requires mount

Each rank would use a predefined AI while the character is offline, basically ignoring the rest of the players skills and abilities. Rank 1 would be roughly as challenging as a 1 merit badge player, rank 2 a 5 merit badge, rank 3 a 10 merit, rank 4 a 15 merit, rank 5 a 20 merit. If logged in while hired certain rules would need to be followed, town or building guards would have to stay near town or the protected building but could otherwise choose to craft, buy, sell or play in any fashion as long as they are available to protect the contracted area. Scouts would be able to ride about in the wilderness but would need to keep their time in town to a minimum. I think the above would keep the AI needed to a minimum requiring a set number of basic NPC scripts of basic skill and power levels without the need of dealing with the massive amounts of abilities for a Fighter 20, Druid 20, Ranger 20 class combo, instead using the Scout rank 5 skills and abilitys list. This also makes online PC guardians more valuable and will still allow for guard companies to prosper by offering 100% online guards.

The other consideration is PC appearance, gear and such will most likely have a wide range of looks and abilities. To combat this AI and CPU requirement a player could be required to wear a Guard uniform, with a basic set of armor appropriate to the role they are filling, Scouts in Leather gear with a sword as a weapon, Melee in Plate with a huge mace, etc. Regular player gear would be stored in a local guard storage and can be retrieved when logging on during guard duty. Player cities could pay for Uniform upgrades like +1 to AC all guard uniforms for 500 coin.

It could also be used to create "Crafting Pools" or "Magic Research Pools", like Rank 1 blacksmith for example, when hired reducing the amount of time required to craft an item by 5% or reducing the amount of raw materials needed to craft items.

I think a system like this would be invaluable for a player wanting to contribute to his or her company while having a limited amount of play time per day, and help increase the amount of player interactions by simplifying the hiring process and getting people together. So for anyone who read that giant block, what do you think?

Sorry for the wall of text, just had to get that out of my head. I'm really excited about all the possibilities this game brings up and the direction its heading in so far.

Goblin Squad Member

For my support:
1. The system should not create any situation where the smallest hint of a 'log off ritual' is shown. The system must be indifferent to player location in respect to the 'job' location, and take less than 5 seconds to check a box while logging out.

2. The system must be air tight, and have absolutely no possible way for me to create 1 alt account i never intend to play and provide a 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 01% advantage to anything. This would require something along the lines of requiring putting 100$ into a character to initially get into the system, meaning, that character has to generate 100$ for GW, this could be by the player buying specific things for that character, or the character buying 100$ worth of training vouchers with in game coin.

Going Free-to-play in any capacity opens some doors and closes way more.

Goblin Squad Member

Valkenr wrote:

For my support:

1. The system should not create any situation where the smallest hint of a 'log off ritual' is shown. The system must be indifferent to player location in respect to the 'job' location, and take less than 5 seconds to check a box while logging out.

As for a log off ritual, I would say yeah bring up the menu and click melee guard rank 1 and I'd say your good.

Valkenr wrote:

2. The system must be air tight, and have absolutely no possible way for me to create 1 alt account i never intend to play and provide a 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 01% advantage to anything. This would require something along the lines of requiring putting 100$ into a character to initially get into the system, meaning, that character has to generate 100$ for GW, this could be by the player buying specific things for that character, or the character buying 100$ worth of training vouchers with in game coin.

Going Free-to-play in any capacity opens some doors and closes way more.

Not sure about requiring a 100$ minimum to start but, this type of system would use skill training time so that should keep the amount of players from abusing it rather small(making free to play players only able to guard while online because of the lack of training time). Players with massive bank accounts could just hire NPC guards without a player guard system either way. Also creating a throw away account would get you a guard who's threat level is the same as a new player, not sure how much training time you would need to raise yourself to a 5 merit character but I assume it will be months, so they would need to buy training time for 5-10 accounts at the lowest level to exploit anything or be a real threat wouldn't they? Or am I just not seeing giant glaring way to abuse something like this?

Goblin Squad Member

Oh and as for location I would say as long as your in the same hex or general area, your specific location shouldnt matter. As long as it can't be abused to safely travel from one side of the game world to the other.

Goblin Squad Member

If you can thrown $5 into a character and get a roaming npc, you have the potential for massive armies of these patrols. The only way to get into a system like this should involve dedication to the character.

The offline job suggestion was part of a 'how do we keep our stuff safe when we are not online' discussion. I would rather see no need for a system like this, instead of trying to concoct something that can't be exploited to anyone's advantage.

I'm a strong supporter of hiring NPC's instead of players becoming npc's. If I play a ranger, hardly visit town, and while offline my character patrols 5 houses, I am worth more to those 5 houses while offline, since I will most likely be unable to defend them as swiftly as my NPC self.

Goblin Squad Member

I would suggest PCs only be available for offline duty if they are actively training skills. That will keep it from being used on throwaway alts.

I would not set it up so that a PC's normal skill training was interrupted while they were performing offline duty. If you do that, you basically won't have any offline duty for roughly 2.5 years.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

In what practical manner does this differ from hiring NPC guards at the same rate (free, or the "tax", in the case where a group hires their own members exclusively)?

Goblin Squad Member

For me, the major difference is that the PCs are in the game world even when the player is logged out. I don't know if that's what Nonexistent had in mind, though.

Goblin Squad Member

If this is included there is a very simple way to balance it.

Make it come exclusively as part of a VIP package. So rather than throwing in 5$ you are throwing in 15$ and that character comes with a ton of added benefits... for someone who actually plays the game.

Two, make some kind of in-game requirement to allow you to do this, such as, you have to be online and do a certain amount of stuff (Be it crafting killing mobs, or just sitting in a tavern having a conversation.) And assign a point value to each of those actions. If you have enough points the system works. And you can store up points so that if you go on vacation for a month or something they don't run out.

Finally if anyone is found abusing this system (Such as using a macro to spam random chat back and forth between them and their buddy in a tavern.) the ability to do it, is permanently removed from their account. Other actions may be taken depending on severity.

As for the main idea I think its decent. I'm not sure if I like it overall or not but I at least like the idea of an NPC taking over for me if I lag out in the middle of a fight. Better than just standing there and dying.

Goblin Squad Member

@Decius

Assume the settlement of 5 players hires 5 guards. When all 5 players are on line, the settlement has a combat strength of 10 (5 players + 5 guards) (probably more, because PCs fight more effectively than NPCs). When all the players are offline, settlement has combat strength of 5.

Under the OP, players count for strength when logged out. When all 5 players are on line, settlement has 5 strength. When they are logged out, settlement has 5 strength.

Nonexistant's proposal would also limit a settlement guards to the number of players that it can recruit, not the number of NPCs it can pay for.

I'd think that players could only contribute if they log off in the settlement hex. Consider the case when the settlement is attacking another village, 5 hexes away. They have combat strength there that can also be used at their home base, just by logging off.

I do like Valkenr and Andius points of making sure it is a legitimate, active character.

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