PvE Thief gameplay

Discussion in 'Quests & Lore' started by Darkblade, Apr 2, 2013.

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  1. Darkblade

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    PvE Thief gameplay

    A quick note in advance - this is by no means a "this is how it should be done", but rather a collection of features I have been privilege to test or play actively with over the years.

    What is a PvE Thief anyways?
    ~ The role of a thief can be quite diverse if the game mechanics allow it to be.

    They may not have the power of a heavily equipped knight, or access to the devastation that some magical spells may cause, but they can be worth more than their weight in gold in quite a few different ways.

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    Trap Detection and Removal
    This can be performed in Dungeons or in overworld adventures. Traps can be found on floors, walls, doors, chests.
    A chest containing riches is worth nothing if the items within are damaged by a careless or greedy adventurer.

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    Lock Picking (Locksmiths)
    This can be used on most containers or doors. It can also be a beneficial system for players who find locked boxes to bring these to Locksmiths to have them opened. A bit of experience for the Locksmith, and the player who found the box has another "discovery" moment when they get to see what riches they had found. *note* a system might need to be implemented that would allow a player to trade something to another player that would be returned by default, unless we are going to assume that the Thief is honorable enough to return the box. I believe Locksmiths would gain a bit of reputation directly through this type of system.
    This would also tie in with the Trap Detection and Removal when groups hire a Thief to accompany them on a dungeon crawl with a direct goal of having the Thief open chests for the group. The group protects the Thief, who in turn renders their services mutually, and the group gains riches as a whole.

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    "Acquiring" rare items
    One of the most thrilling times I have spent as a Thief was on Ultima Online.
    Picking locks and snooping containers in shops to look for anything of value that could be "stolen" had a level of excitement all its' own.
    This allowed Thieves to offer their services to non-Thief players who wanted to decorate their houses with items that could only be stolen. (ie Dried Herbs, Wires, rare foods, Fruit Baskets, special rocks, and such). This type of gameplay allowed Thieves to advance their skills while actively pursuing a productive goal in game.
    Whether the items could be stolen directly off the ground or from locked containers is a design question (and could also be both)

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    Stealing (Pickpockets)
    ~ versus NPCs
    Sending Pickpockets on quests to "acquire" certain items from locked chests or even other NPCs is another system that could become quite extensive.
    Not only is it fun for the thief, but it also allows them to explore a "hidden" aspect of the game. Again, this can tie in with the dungeon crawls and adventuring quite easily.

    ~ versus PCs
    This one is always a bit controversial and leads to heated discussions of what should be steal-able and what should be protected.
    I myself have never stolen from a player (there are Thieves who take pride in being honorable), but I do not condone it entirely.
    It adds a level of difficulty to that type of game play when stealing from other players, and can often slide into a "griefing" category quite quickly.
    example: have you ever seen a player surrounded suddenly by multiple thieves who rob them blind because they can not escape? This leads to the classic "reveal thyself vendor buy bank guards!" spam.
    Depending on how the system works, and how skills are constructed, this can be devastating. Have you ever tried to defend yourself versus a player killer only to have them disarm you and then steal your weapon directly afterwards? It's not what I would call "fun" at all. (at least not for the person on the dying end of the scenario)

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    I intentionally left assassination and poisons out of this posting, as the points listed thus far should provide more than a few different ideas for the game play.
     
  2. Lord Kei

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    I like the idea of thief and the ability to steal rares to earn a living.

    Also having unsavoury skills allows for people to roleplay evil characters.

    I feel that thievery should be allowed for pvp. It will be great to form thieves guild who goes around the world to steal from rich players from other pvp enabled guilds.

    Definitely a +1
     
  3. Freeman

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    I always felt like DDO (at launch) got traps right. Rogues weren't just 'handy' they were down right 'needed' on some adventures. Eventually, you could learn to bypass some traps with other skills if you could find them, but the shortest way home was the rogue. It made them super fun to play.

    When it comes to stealing from players, under the PvP flagged players, should be fair game. Why not?
     
  4. Darkblade

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    PvP stealing should definitely flag for open PvP as an aggressive act.
     
  5. PrimeRib

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    Ultima IV did away with stealing.
    "thou hast lost an eighth"

    You can do it. But you'd better really need the item or the karma will cost you more than it's worth, even if no one sees you.
     
  6. redfish

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    What would people here think about a rogue skill for Climbing -- ie, climbing up trees, walls, etc. Perhaps using a grappling hook. Possibly other acrobatic type activities that require agility.
     
  7. Tamorand

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    Personally I liked the idea of a PVP or PVE thief - there are plenty of games out there with ideas and functional examples that could be incorporated -

    Hell just look at Skyrim's Thieves Guild quests - repeatable targets, items, and homes where your job is to Acquire a specific item, Loot a building of a certain value of $$, or Setup a target to take the fall for theft through reverse pick pocketing.

    I definitely +1 this idea and would love to see it implemented
     
  8. Darkblade

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    also, keeping in mind that technology will play at least some role, Thieves and Tinkerers could be privy to the use of diverse Gadgets.

    Oddly enough, I have yet to see many posts with suggestions leaning towards technology.
     
  9. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Though I don't play the thief myself I'm a big fan of 'rogue' skills and would love to see a thieves guild in-game.. (with a certain caveat that it's actual RP and not just griefing cause they get a kick out of it).

    I'd love to see some climbing and acrobatics but honestly I don't think that's RG's forte. So I'm not going to hold my breath on that one. Traps I'd love to see, detection, disarming AND setting to some degree.. also crosses over into hunting.

    Likewise though if there's pickpocketing and stealth then there needs to be a foil for those skills like spot and listen check to detect stealthy characters.
     
  10. Robert Reise2

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    Darkblade,

    Let me apologize in advance for playing Devil's Advocate here.

    Trap Detection, Lock Picking and Item acquisition sound really cool. So cool that it would seem these skills could possibly be so valuable, they would be requirements to be useful and competitive in an exploring/ combat style game play. Why would I quest in a dungeon with anyone who doesn't have trap detection? Or better yet, I like traveling to unknown places, if I don't get trap detection I'll get destroyed.

    Lock picking and Item acquisition skills seem so awesome that if you were going to save up for a house deed you would almost automatically have to take these skills to keep pace with potential deed buyers of the future.

    I like them as mechanics, but then it becomes a major balance issue. Now we have to let magic users "Conjure Herbs" because they can't steal them, or give martial fighters a 2 second immunity buff because if they are not able to detect a trap it would kill them since they lack the skill to self heal. If you make the traps too strong you have one problem, if you make the traps weak, then no one would even bother investing in trap detection because the consequences would be insignificant.

    What I'm getting at here is when it comes to utility skills, comparing to combat skills one has to be even more careful of balance and also, one has to spend a lot of effort to make sure every similar skill path or level has equally viable utility skills that are unique and at the same time equal in usefulness. This makes balance extremely difficult.
     
  11. Darkblade

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    HOW DARE.. oh.. nevermind.

    I understand what you mean. These are only suggestions for the gameplay itself. Where the skills will lie in the end would be another discussion entirely.
     
  12. Freeman

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    Robert Rise,

    Devils Advocate is a good thing at this point, but keep in mind lots of games, Dragon Age, Deus Ex, Neverwinter Nights, DDO, and Baldur's Gate, and the early games like Wizardry, Bard's Tale and the Ultimas and UO all did environmental traps/locks well. I doubt there's much difficulty in seeing how they could be layered into the game in a way that makes thieves useful without being a necessity.

    Especially considering the focus we're hearing on multiple paths to a solution. A hallway full of traps, one full of magic wards, and one full of monsters... or some twist on that system, would mean you'd need a thief to see ALL of the game, but no more so than needing a mage or fighter.

    As for your concerns that you'd 'need' them for trap detection. This is where I think looking at DDO is a good place to start. Traps often have visual clues that something is up without finding the exposed place to disarm the trap. They could be two different things. A search skill lets you know it's there... but only someone skilled in disarming will figure out where the disarm box is. Thus you can avoid the trap, but miss what it's guarding. Or find another way to set it off, etc.

    Item Acquiring... I'll be genuinely surprised if some form of pick pocketing doesn't make it in.

    As for needing a rogue/theif/tinkerer/subterfuge(-ist?) to keep up with deed buyers... that's one theory... I want to know who's going to get them past the monsters to the high loot goods? They'll need a fighter, and they'll need a healer for the traps they set off instead of disarm.

    In which case you're talking about a team. No individual can keep up with that. Guilds will have more money and such than individuals. But that's the way of things.
     
  13. PrimeRib

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    They ran into that problem many times even in D&D trying to define a thief. Once it was a jack of all trades "adventurer" type of character, it didn't make sense to have anything else. The thief had so many possible dimensions it was destined to be the lead with the rest of the classes as supporting cast. To some extent, that's why the proficiency system was introduced - to spread the love of these random skills around.

    I'm reminded how in WoW I'd end up mailing a stack of locked boxed every day to the guild rogue. It sounded like a good idea to give him this skill. But really it was just a silly burden on everyone else.

    I suppose you can make it so you generally walk around with 3 companions and one can be a thief. But then you start getting to the "i can't do anything without a tank, dps, healer, and thief". Which is the worst of all possible worlds.
     
  14. redfish

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    @PrimeRib, party play isn't the worst of all possible worlds. You had to balance your party in games like U5, making sure you had a bard, a fighter, and a mage. If you remember, bard, fighter, and mage were the three main classes in U5. "Thief" didn't quite cut it, I guess, because thieves aren't virtuous, and the game was about virtue, so the bard was the jack-of-all-trades class.

    Its a problem in MMOs because you don't necessarily want to find the right party members, and might even prefer solo; but I like the idea of NPC companions, hirelings, henchmen, being allowed.
     
  15. PrimeRib

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    I think we're in agreement on this. I never went anywhere in Ultima VI without the mouse.

    But it cannot be a mess when building groups with other players. If I'm building a 10 man wow raid, I have to cover all 8 buffs. It's better that is was before but you have very little flexibility. Many other games also stuck you with a number of classes you just had to have to be efficient.

    I'm hoping the PvE is casual enough so there aren't really dps races or otherwise can get through encounters with a pretty flexible group.
     
  16. Robert Reise2

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    @Freeman

    I agree all the games you listed did thief trap detection and lockpicking well, but those are offline games, not multiplayer online games. Its still a balance issue. If you make a Thief invaluable for numerous aspects of the game, people not playing these skills would complain because their path choice was not as useful. Solution is the make their path choice more useful, but then you have all these mega powerful game utilities to balance all of a sudden.

    @Primerib

    The "fun and helpful" mechanics that create a burden for other players. Exactly. Building the game around player character skills is going to get you in trouble. The lockbox thing: Why boxes? They are fun to open and give rewards? Who gets to open them? Only this one guy... "But I found so many of these boxes, I don't have time to level a lockpicking skill what do I do?" Sending them to a guy who opens the box, gives everything to someone else does seem absurd when a treasure that doesn't have a lock is just as fun to open and can offer the same rewards.
     
  17. Freeman

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    @Robert Reise

    Neverwinter Nights & DDO were not offline games (some argument for Neverwinter, but ultimately the traps carried over to online as well.) But DDO is decidedly not, and it's traps were fantastically done. It's free to play, you should give it a try to see what I mean.

    In truth most online games I felt were sorely lacking in traps, and made rogues really just a variant on fighter, and not a true rogue class.

    You keep saying "invaluable". More so than fighters, healers or mages? Unlikely. They would ismply make other aspects available, the same way a fighter would make a dragons treasure available. Or a mage would let you teleport past a trap. Or a healer heal you up from it.

    There's always another way.
     
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