Gobbo-blog - Sanctioned vs Unsanctioned PVP by Bluddwolf


Pathfinder Online

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*The views represented in this editorial are that of Bluddwolf and should not be assumed to be the views of Gobbocast or it's staff. The opinions expressed are presented as an OpEd.*

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A good article. The difference between unsanctioned pvp and non-tolerated behavior is a good question. For now they seem to be two separate concepts. I don't mind that. But allowing companies and settlements to segregate according to alignment and reputation has more to do in my opinion with unsanctioned pvp than non-tolerated behavior allowing companies and settlements to create their own kind of pvp policy or atmosphere. Which I could say enhances meaningful interaction at least for some people, but maybe not for everyone.

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Congrats to Bluddwolf for his first blog post. And an interesting one it is.

I agree with you that a low reputation shouldn't be considered "breaking the rules of the game". Someone won't get banned for having a low rep, as you noted yourself. Their intention with the reputation system seems not to be a forced restriction away from certain behaviors; the rep system isn't a countdown til you have enough points to get the boot. Rather, it seems like it will be a tool to steer characters away from certain activities with increasingly painful consequences for a lower score. They accept that killing people who don't want to PvP will sometimes be necessary; that's why you can do it in the first place. But they don't think a character should be doing this often, which is why the more you do it ('it' being rep-lowering activities in general), the worse off you become. Of course, they haven't really outlined the specifics on how you become worse yet, for the same reason they haven't outlined the specifics on what spells a wizard can prepare; these are systems that are still being developed, and either they don't have a specific answer yet or they don't have one they are comfortable sharing with their public. (Disclaimer: this is how I view things, which could be far off the mark from what GW has in mind.)

I don't really see the connect between the majority of the post and the end, where you call them out for leaving bannable offenses vague. I understand that as someone who plans to play in a way that will naturally upset some people (some of those you rob will undoubtedly call you a griefer/jerk/whatever), a vague boundary for acceptable behavior is a very dangerous thing for you. After all, these people could report you to a moderator who's in a pissy mood and feels like banning you because he doesn't have strict guidelines he has to adhere to. Is this coming close to why you don't like a vague ban-boundary, or is it something else entirely? (I'm not saying you want a lenient ban boundary because you're going to be a bandit, mind; only that you want a clear boundary.)

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I agree that the articles beginning and its end seems fairly disconnected. There are also a few grammar mistakes (someone likes their commas!) that could have been caught by an editor. Does gobbocast have an editorial process? If not, you might want to pick one up. Even a crowd-sourced volunteer process could probably improve the quality of posts by a fair margin.

I don't intend to seem disinterested, it is just that the article itself seems to say relatively little with a fairly large word count. Which is generally where a good editor saves the day.

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@ Shane

I like rules to be clear and to have predictable consequences. "You do X to Y you get Z". I also like consequences to be equally applied, "You do X to W you get Z".

I believe the way GW has described (vaguely I admit) the negative consequences for low reputation, the enforcement is largely unpredictable. I'm ok with that if it is player enforcement, I think that is how it should be. The developer (Devs, GMs, MODS) should never be unpredictable or "capricious and arbitrary" as has been described.

@ Morbis,

Not being a professional writer or one that is well practiced, I recognize that commas are my bane.

As for the content of the article, I acknowledged the difficulty in taking the large step to my conclusion. That is why I through a few of those questions in between the first part of the article and the last.

The article was also not declarative, but an expression of my understanding of what the system says to me. I could very well be wrong on some or many aspects. We won't know that unless the devs actually clear some of those up.

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As usual, Bluddwolf does manage to spark some legitimate debate. However, the blog seems to miss a few points that I thought have been made pretty clear; just because a statement is vague doesn't mean its general meaning is unclear. I believe a low-rep, chaotic evil settlement's 'suckiness' will amount to the fact that there will be features/structures/training that it simply can't have. Indeed, such settlements will probably be the most often completely conquered in the game if they even exist at all. I also think that Bludd left out one important example of what he calls sanctioned pvp-that a relatively high rep character can attack a low-rep, chaotic evil one without meaningful consequences, just as if the two were at war, in a feud, etc. This, to me, is the very deterrent to being such a 'vile, evil bastard' that he seems to think have been left out of the game mechanics. Also, any settlement that has a few low-rep, chaotic evil alts on hand to do the dirty work of player conflict without affecting the overall DI of the settlement because of high population isn't a flaw in the system; I call that tactics. The ending accusation of irresponsiblity is a bit hyperbolic, imo. I mean, at this stage in development any of us could just complain about a lack of specifics and leave it at that. Now, before it looks like I'm beating up on Bluddwolf (as Keovar has pointed out elsewhere, I am Lord Bozo) I too worry about the effects of the proposed power curve between older and newer players being too level. Also, the idea that any announced definitions of griefing will just lead people to skirting the line is specious; making constant pushing the boundaries of defined griefing a bannable offense could simply be part of the user's agreement we all have to sign to play anyway. I now breathlessly await a grade from Morbis.

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Sepherum wrote:
I also think that Bludd left out one important example of what he calls sanctioned pvp-that a relatively high rep character can attack a low-rep, chaotic evil one without meaningful consequences, just as if the two were at war, in a feud, etc. This, to me, is the very deterrent to being such a 'vile, evil bastard' that he seems to think have been left out of the game mechanics.

That was mostly tied to the Champion flag, which is now gone along with the other alignment based flags. Whether or not the mechanics of the alignment based flags will be maintained through skills (ie. SAD from Outlaw Flag, Assassination, etc.) remains to be seen.

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Bluddwolf wrote:
Sepherum wrote:
I also think that Bludd left out one important example of what he calls sanctioned pvp-that a relatively high rep character can attack a low-rep, chaotic evil one without meaningful consequences, just as if the two were at war, in a feud, etc. This, to me, is the very deterrent to being such a 'vile, evil bastard' that he seems to think have been left out of the game mechanics.
That was mostly tied to the Champion flag, which is now gone along with the other alignment based flags. Whether or not the mechanics of the alignment based flags will be maintained through skills (ie. SAD from Outlaw Flag, Assassination, etc.) remains to be seen.

I think what is going to happen is a high rep character will be able to attack a low rep, chaotic evil character with no or very little consequence regardless of flags or states of organized conflict or where they happen to be (possible player settlement laws may apply, of course). As you stated, that may not be much of a deterrent to a certain playstyle. But Goblin Works is betting that not many will wish to be such 'fair game' all the time and that will limit griefing.

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I think what Seraphum was getting at is that the alignment and rep shifts for unsanctioned PvP are lesser if you attack someone with a low alignment/reputation. They say this in the blog with a statement, "Killing other players without flags results in loss of good vs. evil along the same scope as losses in reputation described above. So if a paladin kills someone of average evil (-5,000 good vs. evil) they will lose 16 points on the good vs. evil scale. Assuming the paladin is likewise of average good (5,000 good vs. evil), they would have to kill over 150 people of average evil to lose their good alignment, though if they kill characters who are also good they will quickly find their alignment slipping to neutral and evil." A similar scale was described for reputation before it (link to the relevant blog). Now, that was from February, so it might have changed, but in the examples given there a high rep, good character loses very little by committing unsanctioned PvP against a low rep, evil character.

Switching gears, I still think it's too early to declare anything about the consequences for low reputation. There haven't really been many consequences listed yet, and those that have are more so basic ideas than specific consequences. I sincerely believe that the repercussions for low reputation will be laid out more clearly at some point. As for the bannable offences list, I'm hoping that GW's statement that they're going to have a hazy definition for what is bannable is coupled with a very lax banning policy. Though they might not let the general public know, they could excuse people who practice bannable behaviors a couple times before any punishments are meted out (just telling the person "Hey, this seems dickish to us, try not to do things like that in the future"). I think the idea behind it is that fear of the unknown is more powerful than fear of the known; if you don't know exactly where the line for acceptable behavior is located, you'll just stay out of that area completely so that you don't cross it (at least, in theory).

Thanks for the back-and-forth, Bludd.

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Thanks, Shane you explained it nicely; I guess what I'm trying to express is the fact that a theoretical Paladin (heck, any high rep, good/law-aligned character) can unload on a deadend reputation, chaotic evil griefer type with relative impunity.That is the consequence, and a further 'list' of sanctions may not be forthcoming. A pronounced lack of capabilities/features for a chaotic evil settlement may make such an undertaking untenable as well.

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Alignment will matter very little in the end. I like how you continue to push your emphasis by stating a low-rep CE player. In the end, reputation will reflect play-style and alignment will represent RP style. Evil does not, nor will ever, mean stupid. You're looking at the wrong side of the spectrum as far as alignment anyways. The focus should be Law vs. Chaos when it comes to upholding societal norms.

And, I may wrap up my point here in a moment.

No game should say that any "alignment" in not viable, if they present it as a playable part of the spectrum. Chaotic Evil should be just as viable as Lawful Good and Lawful Evil just as viable as Chaotic Good. Adjusting that in any way destroys the alignment system from the table-top anyway. Alignment should be the sprinkles on the finished product. They should look appetizing, but in truth, do absolutely nothing except identify your character through an RP avenue.

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Lord Regent: Deacon Wulf wrote:

Alignment will matter very little in the end. I like how you continue to push your emphasis by stating a low-rep CE player. In the end, reputation will reflect play-style and alignment will represent RP style. Evil does not, nor will ever, mean stupid. You're looking at the wrong side of the spectrum as far as alignment anyways. The focus should be Law vs. Chaos when it comes to upholding societal norms.

And, I may wrap up my point here in a moment.

No game should say that any "alignment" in not viable, if they present it as a playable part of the spectrum. Chaotic Evil should be just as viable as Lawful Good and Lawful Evil just as viable as Chaotic Good. Adjusting that in any way destroys the alignment system from the table-top anyway. Alignment should be the sprinkles on the finished product. They should look appetizing, but in truth, do absolutely nothing except identify your character through an RP avenue.

I'm not arguing 'for' anything here; I'm simply stating what I believe the system will be: That Goblin Works, as an anti-griefing mechanism, is going to make it difficult to play a low-rep, chaotic evil character. Personally I don't like the reputation system at all but I'm conceding it as a fact no matter what final form it takes. I also don't think that any alignment ought to be automatically disadvantaged; indeed, I have wondered aloud on these forums where folks roleplaying evil characters such as a cleric of Rovagug are supposed to get their training. Evil does not mean stupid. Announcing a settlement charter then using it as a platform to declare oneself King of Infinite Space might be.

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Lord Regent: Deacon Wulf wrote:

Alignment will matter very little in the end. I like how you continue to push your emphasis by stating a low-rep CE player. In the end, reputation will reflect play-style and alignment will represent RP style. Evil does not, nor will ever, mean stupid. You're looking at the wrong side of the spectrum as far as alignment anyways. The focus should be Law vs. Chaos when it comes to upholding societal norms.

And, I may wrap up my point here in a moment.

No game should say that any "alignment" in not viable, if they present it as a playable part of the spectrum. Chaotic Evil should be just as viable as Lawful Good and Lawful Evil just as viable as Chaotic Good. Adjusting that in any way destroys the alignment system from the table-top anyway. Alignment should be the sprinkles on the finished product. They should look appetizing, but in truth, do absolutely nothing except identify your character through an RP avenue.

I disagree strongly. I would prefer a game where alignment is an indicator of the players actions. Those that meddle with the undead are definitely evil in my book, those that use slaves are evil, those that kill people with no reason are evil. How could good alignments have equivalents for these?

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Aeioun Plainsweed wrote:
I disagree strongly. I would prefer a game where alignment is an indicator of the players actions. Those that meddle with the undead are definitely evil in my book, those that use slaves are evil, those that kill people with no reason are evil. How could good alignments have equivalents for these?

First, two of your examples (undead and slaves) are PVE content / activities and the third is PVP. There should be a separation of PVE vs. PVP as it relates to reputation.

I would argue that alignment should be separated from PVP as well. To have a system where if you are LG, it is ok to slaughter others whom are CE is unbalanced. The argument that CE has more freedom of action has not been shown to be true in the Dev's posts or Blogs yet.

I have stated in another thread, perhaps months ago, that Devs should be making this game from a Lawful Neutral perspective. The game needs to be orderly and neutral as it pertains to the various systems and for the goal of creating balance.

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I have to completely disagree. I hope the difference between PvE and PvE is as minimal as possible, ideally utilizing the same mechanics and metrics for both. Also, the Reputation and Alignment systems are being used a grief-play/positive-play metric, as such I hope the functional demands of the systems trump the RP roles people think they want to play. We as players will adapt our views of alignment as necessary.

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I'm personally in the camp of "alignment shouldn't be used to mete out punishment, but reputation should". There are consequences to playing any alignment; good characters deal with moral restrictions, and evil characters deal with social restrictions (i.e., less relational opportunities, the stigma of being evil, etc).

Interestingly, the system described in that blog post in February seems to cater to Good vs. Evil fighting frequently outside sanctioned PvP. Think of the alignment aspect this way: an Evil character isn't going to mind a big hit to alignment for killing a good character, right? Killing them keeps the Evil guy in his desired alignment. A Good guy is also not going to mind killing an evil guy, because although it shifts him away from his desired alignment, it does so in such a small increment that it's no big deal. So in my eyes, the alignment side is weighted in the Evil characters favor (because evil can kill evil without trouble, but good can't kill good without big consequences), but not by much.

As a side note, I don't recall any actions which have been said to affect alignment but not reputation, or vice versa. Hopefully those come about sometime soon.

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From what I remember, Torq was dragged into a discussion when Ryan made the statements that CE will be the a!@@@!!s, to clarify things a bit.

From what he said, CE will have training based on their alignment that will be just as powerful as LG. The difference will be what they can train, not the fact they will have lack of training.

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Shane Gifford wrote:
As a side note, I don't recall any actions which have been said to affect alignment but not reputation, or vice versa. Hopefully those come about sometime soon.

Criminal acts flag the character and shift him towards chaos. Heinous acts flag the character and shift her towards evil. Neither has a reputation effect.

Under the now-obsolete flags, good Champions could attack unflagged evil and suffer only a reputation hit, so there's an (outdated) example of vice versa. Champions are apparently going to be part of factional warfare, but we don't know exactly how it will work in the future.

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KitNyx wrote:
I have to completely disagree. I hope the difference between PvE and PvE is as minimal as possible, ideally utilizing the same mechanics and metrics for both. Also, the Reputation and Alignment systems are being used a grief-play/positive-play metric, as such I hope the functional demands of the systems trump the RP roles people think they want to play. We as players will adapt our views of alignment as necessary.

I have to completely disagree.

I will assume that when you said PVE and PVE you meant for one to be PVP.

The mechanics will be the same for both, but the NPC AI will not be a human... so they will react and interact differently, which will cause the way people play in PVE to be different then PVP.

Reputation and Alignment both being use as anti grief play mechanic seems to me as a poor quality in coding. Just because you lose one does not mean you should lose another, and same for gain in either.

Also, grief play is mainly focused on a person and not the game... So if the reputation mechanic is to for how you are treating another player... then it to is a pretty sad mechanic to have.

I can tell you this, you can play completely in the rules of the game, never lose alignment or reputation and still grief someone.

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Thanks for the reminder of Criminal/Heinous acts, Urman. I had indeed forgotten about those. Hopefully there's a full system including acts you can take to become closer to any alignment, in support of good people who want to become evil and evil people who want to become good.

Edit: I hope that players don't declare other players griefers solely by their scores in alignment or reputation. Though I think Reputation should carry some negative impacts on the lower end of scores, I don't think a low reputation character is a griefer; they're simply someone who chooses to play the game this specific way and deal with the consequences present in low reputation. It's a good point to make that a +7500 rep character can still be a griefer, and in fact griefing many times has nothing to do with your character's scores or stats.

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KitNyx wrote:

I have to completely disagree. I hope the difference between PvE and PvP is as minimal as possible, ideally utilizing the same mechanics and metrics for both. Also, since the Reputation system is being used as a negative-play/positive-play metric, as such I hope the functional demands of the systems trump the RP roles people think they want to play. If the Alignment system is being used as negative-play/positive-play metric, as such I hope the functional demands of the systems trump the RP roles people think they want to play.

We as players will adapt our views of reputation and alignment as necessary.

Fixed the above, thanks for pointing out my error Xeen. I also originally used the "G"-word which packed more connotation than I intended.

Shane Gifford wrote:
I hope that players don't declare other players griefers solely by their scores in alignment or reputation. Though I think Reputation should carry some negative impacts on the lower end of scores, I don't think a low reputation character is a griefer; they're simply someone who chooses to play the game this specific way and deal with the consequences present in low reputation. It's a good point to make that a +7500 rep character can still be a griefer, and in fact griefing many times has nothing to do with your character's scores or stats.

Except, GW has stated one of the intents of the Reputation system is to empower us players to participate in the discouragement of negative gameplay. One acquires a negative Reputation by participating in styles of play which GW has deemed unfavorable, why would we...the players...want to pass up the chance to encourage positive game play?

(I purposely left the work "grief(er)" out...I have no idea what it means, I cannot define it, nor give an example of it strictly by a description of behaviour...as such, I and will try not to use it again.)

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Oh, I don't disagree that the system outlines some actions as bad, and that those actions are being disincentivized. I myself won't want to be anywhere near a -7500 rep character. I'm simply saying that rep-lowering actions are not always player-to-player harassment, and I hope that this fact is taken into consideration when looking at someone else's score. It isn't a measure of how much harassment this person's been doing, just how many 'bad' actions they've been taking.

Sorry, I forgot I'm working off a specific definition of griefing that isn't everyone's held view, and I should have said what my understanding of the term is in the first post.

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Bluddwolf wrote:
Aeioun Plainsweed wrote:
I disagree strongly. I would prefer a game where alignment is an indicator of the players actions. Those that meddle with the undead are definitely evil in my book, those that use slaves are evil, those that kill people with no reason are evil. How could good alignments have equivalents for these?

First, two of your examples (undead and slaves) are PVE content / activities and the third is PVP. There should be a separation of PVE vs. PVP as it relates to reputation.

I would argue that alignment should be separated from PVP as well. To have a system where if you are LG, it is ok to slaughter others whom are CE is unbalanced. The argument that CE has more freedom of action has not been shown to be true in the Dev's posts or Blogs yet.

I have stated in another thread, perhaps months ago, that Devs should be making this game from a Lawful Neutral perspective. The game needs to be orderly and neutral as it pertains to the various systems and for the goal of creating balance.

I would be complete fine if reputation was only used as a players pvp behaviour meter that includes contract behavior etc, all player to player intercaction behaviour. Instead I would like alignment to meter all of players actions, everything he does in the game, pvp pve and whatnot. Don't know if it's possible to do this way though.

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