PVP & Death: Current Thinking Megapost

Discussion in 'Community Announcements' started by DarkStarr, Mar 6, 2014.

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  1. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer

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    Greetings Avatars,

    Out of all the features we are planning for, PVP seems to bring with it some very passionate interest and emotion. We feel that same level of emotion, and we are as excited as you are to have fun and meaningful PVP in Shroud of the Avatar. Our goal with PVP is to balance the thrill of unpredictable encounters with the desire by a large segment of the community to feel “safe” at all times. Rest assured that no matter what we do, players who wish to avoid PVP will never be forced to participate in PVP nor will there ever be non-consensual PVP.

    Some games have segregated PVP from PVE worlds (Such as UO’s Trammel and Felucca). But we feel this complete segregation makes both sides less interesting. Yet, an open “free for all” which only serves one half is exactly what the other half fears. We feel we can successfully blend these two extremes into a world where PVE players can experience the FULL game (other than the PVP they are trying to avoid), while PVP players can shift the dynamics of the game environment thus; encouraging others to contest them in PVP.

    Most importantly, the proposals below are just that; proposals. They have neither been coded nor tested by you, our players. Trust that we will find a way to successfully blend these play styles. We just feel the blended answer provides a unified world with the most safety and excitement combined, and is thus worthy in our minds of exploration. The solution for this goal will involve compromise on both sides, but we are confident those compromises will be worth it. We ARE going to find a solution, and we are going to do it together

    Our current thinking about this blended world, is something like this:

    The foundation of PvE is a guarantee that players will be able to play against NPC opponents without being forced into combat against other players. PvP play begins with a consensual choice to engage in combat against other players (e.g. duels, guild wars, and PvP "zones"). The key, we feel, is to try and create a co-existence between the two systems that blends PvP and PvE when possible, while still maintaining the player's choice of whether to engage in either mode. Some examples include, but are not limited to; players being offered a PvP quest to hunt down a player "criminal" (who is also flagged for PVP), PvP strongholds with objectives, and rare resources that will be available elsewhere in the world but more abundantly in PvP zones.

    I would like to extend special thanks to our Developer + backers who did initial vetting and feedback of these ideas before we posted here.

    Our current thinking is that PVP would happen in the following circumstances (note that there are multiple ways to participate in constant open PVP with other PVP folks):
    • Blessings of the Oracle (Open PVP): We are intrigued by the idea of weaving PVP into the lore, so a current idea is that players can complete a task / quest for the Oracle that will flag them as open PVP. Likewise they can have this flag removed by completing a task / quest for the Oracle. The Oracle is neutral (but judgmental) so this is a great way for us to provide a neutral way to get to Open PVP vs. having to set up factions, track blue reds, etc. Players who are in Open PVP (Blessed and Guilds flagged Open PVP) will be able to PVP with each other whenever they encounter each other, even in towns (but guards can, and will, react). Blessed Avatars may also gain access to PVP specific skills and the ability to craft PVP enchantments/enhancements.
    • Guilds (Warfare and Open PVP): Guilds can flag themselves as Open PVP which makes all members flagged as open PVP at all times (note there will be a time delay for changing this flag to prevent exploits). Players who are in Open PVP (Blessed and Guilds flagged Open PVP) will be able to PVP with each other whenever they encounter each other, even in towns (but guards can, and will, react!). They may also gain access to PVP specific skills, and the ability to craft PVP specific items. There will be time constraints on joining and leaving Guilds to control exploits. Guilds can declare war on each other which tracks guild vs guild kills for a set time period (24 hours, 1 week, etc.). At the end of that time period the Guild with the most kills gets a trophy. For Episode 1 warfare will be confined to 1 guild vs. 1 guild. Guild Warfare can include attacking / defending structures (think of a Castle Defense map for guilds). All warfare declarations are consensual, and once both guilds agree, the war starts in 24 hours with all guild members being notified. For later episodes, we may add the ability to set winning conditions as well as prizes/bets on the outcome.
    • PVP Zones: Volcanic eruptions and meteoric strikes on the map will create a mix of predefined areas and random areas that will be flagged as open PVP, meaning anyone entering that zone is flagged as PVP. These zones will have the following characteristics:
      • The rarest resources and rarest creatures will be more abundant in PVP Zones. (IMPORTANT NOTE: These resources and creatures also appear in PVE zones)
      • PVP specific resources for making PVP specific items.
      • PVP specific trainers, although there are issues we anticipate with quest givers getting camped, so we will work on solutions for this.
      • PVP specific quests, including the quest from the Oracle which flags the player as open PVP.
      • PVP Zones are currently planned to only be accessible in Open Multiplayer since playing them in Friend Only or Single Player Online modes would be an easy way to circumvent PVP.
      • A confirmation dialogue appears before entry into any and all PVP maps. This confirmation is also triggered during login if you logged out in a zone that has temporarily become PVP, at which time you can opt to login to the overworld map.
    • Duels: This will be one on one combat between two players that can be initiated at any time in safe areas and does not flag the user as PVP to other players. Both parties have to accept the challenge (glove slaps to the face optional). Fights would be to 1 hit point and would only be allowed in safe areas like towns. For later episodes, we may add the ability to set winning conditions as well as prizes/bets on the outcome.
    Our current thinking is that PVP will include some specific skills and conditions as follows:
    • PVP Level & Skills: We are exploring PVP as a third kind of experience (similar to Adventuring and Crafting) and thus, there will be a specific set of PVP skills. PVP skills would only work when player is flagged PVP. PVP skills would:
      • Only work against other Avatars
      • Include subterfuge skills (that enhance or complement the existing ones in Light Armor and Moon Magic)
      • Include skills to reduce the cost of PVP
      • Include the ability to craft PVP specific enchantments & enhancements. Note that these will be on top of the PVE stats for those items so we won't create the need for two complete sets of gear (i.e. you will take an existing sword and add to it vs. create a specific PVP sword). We will also work very hard to make sure that this won't create the gear grind some of you dread.
    • Loot & Ransoms: Our initial plan is when killed by another PVP player, a random item(s) is selected from the player’s inventory (50% equipped / 50% from inventory). The dead player is given a “Player X will take Y unless you pay a ransom of Z” where Z is based on the dead player’s level and the value of the item. You get the option to let them have the item, or pay the ransom. The ransom can be paid from bank funds (and possibly Guild funds). The default for this can be set to “Yes” if a player chooses. We also think that this exchange would have a 1 hour timer till it is final, so the dead player has time to assemble funds. For group PVP, this would use the same sorting algorithms as party loot. We want to explore various options that include providing the killer a list of items to choose vs. selecting only one and/or varying the number of items based on circumstance (i.e. Blessed PVP players might be able to loot more from each other). We will have to put in checks to keep people from gaming this system by loading their inventory with worthless items or running around naked except for reagents. One possible check could be that if there is no loot of X value the loser automatically has to pay ransom.
    • Grouping: Some constraints will be placed on PVP flagged players (via guilds or Blessing) grouping with PVE players to prevent exploits. The current idea is that we would only allow homogenous parties (i.e. all party members are either PVP or PVE, not mixed). This would work on the principle that the Party Leader’s status would determine the status of all party members. So if the party leader is PVP, then all members who join that party would get flagged PVP (with a confirmation). Alternatively if the party leader is PVE, then all members who join that party would be flagged PVE. There would be a cool down timer both for joining and leaving, so that this could not be exploited to escape PVP fights or to quickly rejoin a PVP battle already in process.
    • Trophies: We love the idea that killing another player in PVP could provide the opportunity to collect a trophy (in addition to the loot noted above). Trophies are body parts of the victim and may include ears, teeth, scalps, bones, etc. These trophies will include the name of the victim (e.g. “Darkstarr’s Ear”). These will be part of the loot items that can be ransomed so if you don't want someone walking around with your scalp you can pay the ransom.
    • Leaderboards, Ranking, Ladders: We want to have mechanisms where PVP players, Guilds, etc. can view their rankings against each other with wins vs. losses, kill numbers, etc. We want to make this as immersive as possible with ideas like town criers announcing the winner of a guild war, bulletin boards in the town with most wanted posters of top killers, etc. It is to be determined how complex we can make this for Episode 1.
    Thank you for being patient with us while we try to achieve this delicate balance by working with you towards the best solution. Below you will find the proposal for death as outlined by Chris Spears.

    Sincerely,
    Starr Long
    Executive Producer

    DEATH!

    The impact of death in Shroud of the Avatar, specifically how detrimental to make it, has been a hot topic ever since the Kickstarter campaign. How much death stings is extremely important for encouraging realistic behavior in players, but making it sting too much discourages players from taking any chances at all. We looked at all the options and mechanics available from perma-death to no death penalty, and believe we came up with something on painful enough, but not so harsh that it will leave all characters cowering in their houses instead of adventuring.

    As with all designs in SotA, this is just our current thinking. Expect more fine-tuning once we see how it works in the game.

    When a player dies in SotA, they immediately become a ghost at the location of their corpse. As a ghost, players can no longer speak normally, but instead can only speak in ghost speak (or possibly runic). We are also considering a “speak with dead” type skill in the life or moon magic tree to expand on communication with ghosts. Ghosts will be able to see and speak with each other however. Ghosts appear to players as a shimmering point of light, and ghosts can not interact with any physical items in the world.

    As soon as a player becomes a ghost, the player’s view of the game becomes monochrome, slowly starts to become blurred and darken, and other players and creatures appear as shimmering points of light to limit spying. After several minutes of darkening, if the player has not been revived, their spirit and corpse will both be ripped back to the nearest point of connection to the other side and rebound together as one. Most scenes have one or more of these “weak spots” in reality that let the player’s outlander spirit reconnect with the world of New Britannia. This might be a graveyard, a church, or a travelling spirit. Leaving the scene will always force the spirit to reconnect, as will disconnecting.

    Reconnecting without rebinding will cause the most damage to the player upon rejoining the spirit to the body. Penalties include damage to all worn gear, experience debt, possible loss of an item to other players or creatures, and brief spirit rebinding sickness.

    The penalties for death in PVP and death in PVE are nearly the same. The only major difference is that for PVP death, the experience debt is primarily against PVP experience and PVE death is primarily against PVE experience.

    So that is the short version. For those who want more detail, keep reading!

    Why no full loot?
    So one of the most controversial points has been that we are not full loot. While this is the most immersive, it was just too much of a game play breaker. If we had permadeath, and dying meant that your gear went with you, then full loot would make sense. But it would also mean we would have a whole different set of design challenges.

    Since there has been at least a few people screaming, “FULL LOOT OR GTFO!!1!” in the forums, I want to dig into what the actual implications are to game play and design. Having full loot destroys the value of items because they are easily lost and, in the end, it just makes players keep any real gear in the bank because they are afraid to wear it. Players who are actually going to partake in any risky behavior just end up wearing junk gear so they don’t suffer the same risks as others who are actually wearing gear. The only time players will actually get to enjoy their real gear would be in SPO or FPO modes, where there would be little or no risk of losing all your gear.

    Because many players would be so afraid to lose their gear that they wouldn’t play with it, we would not be able to balance encounters for players who are properly geared . This would break our ability to gate progression through areas for PVE elements because if we balance for quality gear, it might be impossible for someone with junk gear to progress. This would only seriously impact PVP’ers who choose to also PVE or pursue the quest line as non-PVP people would not risk losing gear their gear. Vice versa, if we balance for junk gear we trivialize the game for people with good gear.

    The other option is to make the difference between good and junk gear very small, which disincentivizes players from any gear progression through crafting or adventuring. Another problem is that crafters only become useful for making consumables and junk gear because no one would dare risk anything valuable by actually using it in combat. Finally, if the game can be played through completely with junk gear, then it also removes one of the biggest items used to balance the economy of many games; gear repair.

    So those are just some of the reasons we decided against going full loot. We want gear to have value in combat, we want crafters to have value beyond potions, and we don’t want players to leave their real gear in the bank because they fear losing it.

    Why a ghost?
    We talked over several options as alternatives to being a ghost when you die. There are several challenges involved with being a ghost and they probably aren’t what most people think. The tech and implementation is easy. While it is easy to say “UO did it and it was awesome!” but UO was a very different game in many ways. There were very few discovery elements in UO so letting a ghost wander the world and see things was not that problematic.

    In SotA, we would like to have some discovery elements and having ghosts that can go anywhere can really cause problems. Also, there are a number of PVP exploits that can come up if we let a player who is a ghost stay on the battlefield and effectively scout without additional risk. In the old days of UO, this was less of a problem because it was difficult to communicate with other players when all you could do was say “OOooOOoOooo”. These days, any organized guild is on Ventrillo talking, and even one ghost scout could really relay some important info.

    Those are just some of the reasons we are putting a timer on a player’s time as a ghost and also impairing their ability to see clearly. We think it also adds a bit of urgency as well, which can be fun.

    While it would also be fun to be a ghost and turn lights on and off and open and shut doors, we decided to make ghosts unable to interact with things in the world. This was partly so they couldn’t grief players who would have no way to fight back, but also to allow us to gate progress by ghosts in some scenes. The other side effect to this is that it means that as a ghost, you might get trapped by someone closing a door and might not be able to get back to the reconnect spot which might make you suffer a slightly more painful death. This means that PVP areas with lots of doors might have one more reason to close those doors once you go through them, to block ghosts to prevent them from spying AND from getting back to the respawn spot!

    So aside from historical reasons there were lots of fun things that having a ghosts allows us to do. Things like having some interactives that ONLY a ghost can see or trigger. Also, having some zones with respawn spots deep in the scene past super dangerous stuff where the only option might be to use your outlander spirit to your advantage and die, run past the danger as a ghost, and rebind your spirit and body deep in the scene.

    Cost of Death?
    So we wanted to penalize the player enough to encourage good playing practices and make death have a sting, but not so much that players would want to delete their character and uninstall the game after a rough night of gaming. After much debate, we settled on equipment damage, experience debt (not loss), and possible item loss through the ransom system.

    So we wanted equipment damage for several reasons. First, it makes sense within the story of your body being ripped out of space to be reunited with your spirit. Second, it is a good money sink for players that incur a cost relative to the quality of their gear. Third, it gives crafters one more way to be valuable, as they will be able to repair most gear.

    We decided against outright experience loss and instead are going with a modified debt system. When a player dies, they incur an experience debt debuff. Until they work off their debt, they can still gain experience, but at a reduced rate. We haven’t gone into details about advancement yet, but the debt incurred is against either PVP and PVE experience, depending on how you died. Also worth noting, crafters will incur a similar type of penalty when they try a difficult recipe and suffer a critical failure.

    Last, the ransom system is a new system that we’re going to try out. When you are killed, the killer receives a somewhat random item (there will be some logic behind it to ensure it is of value to you). The item is removed from the player’s inventory immediately, and becomes visible in the player’s open ransom list. The item will have a 1 hour countdown timer on it and a price. The player can either pay the ransom or lose the item. If the item was taken by another player, they will either get the item or the ransom money. If the item was taken by a creature, they will get the item if the player doesn’t pay it.

    I look forward to your feedback! <braces for impact>

    - Chris Spears
  2. Seir

    Seir Avatar

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    Yay! Let the discussions begin!
  3. Bohica

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    Nice thanks Starr

    Prepare for the onslaught!
  4. DivZero

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    Can't wait to see these things in practice!
  5. monxter

    monxter Avatar

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    I like this a lot. People are encouraged to take part in PVP but it's not forced. I think there will be plenty of people joining PVP with these ideas, including myself.

    I'm also liking the death ideas, experience debt, costs etc. Very interesting. I can't make up anything to whine about.

    Looking forward to seeing them PVP skills, another interesting topic. Can't wait to hear more about subterfuge.

    Cheers.
  6. Abydos

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    PVP! 90% Happy
    • Blessings of the Oracle (Open PVP): NICE
    • Guilds (Warfare and Open PVP): NICE
    • PVP Zones: NICE
    • Duels: NICE

    • PVP Level & Skills: NICE
    • Loot & Ransoms: VERY VERY VERY BAD
    • Grouping: NICE
    • Trophies: NICE
    • Leaderboards, Ranking, Ladders: NICE

    DEATH! 100% Happy
    • Why no full loot? NICE
    • Why a ghost? NICE
    • Cost of Death? NICE
    JasonDark, stuntvisor, Ker and 23 others like this.
  7. Bohica

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    I am going to Quote Bowen Bloodgood from another thread because he has a great point on ransoms, and I hope to get some input on it.

    Hope you don't mine Bowen Bloodgood
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  8. sammakonkorvat

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    You guys have clearly put a lot of thought into this and I like what I see.

    One question:
    Can a player lose an item to a monster when not in PvP mode or does that only happen in PvP mode? I would hope it's the former.

    About ransom:
    Bowen has some good points but this is still a better system than full loot, because people will not be *as* afraid to use their gear. Some serious thinking has to be put into the Ransom system, for it to work properly, though.
  9. Mishri

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    Even not in pvp mode you'll lose an item to monsters when appropriate (I don't think a bear will loot you).
  10. charock

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    :(

    I am very disappointed.


    :(
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  11. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer

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    We want to explore scenarios where an NPC would try to loot a player item when it makes sense.
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  12. Trok00

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    Overall very Happy with this, but have a potential concern with the below:

    I'm not sure if I have a concern with this still because I'm just not clear on something. If I'm hitting a player with my sword, will my PVE sword skill increase as well as my PVP skills/levels or do I have to crunch in a bunch of PVE time to make sure I have enough skills so I'm able to compete with other blessed PVP folks?

    Edited for clarification
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  13. jondavis

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    Will there be any criminal system for PK's who kill the ones going into PVP to get resources?
  14. Mishri

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    At this time there isn't a skill use based system in this game. It is level + skill points. So you your sword skill wont increase in either circumstance. Once you gain a level then you allocate skill point(s). From the description my best guess is you only get pvp experience which swords is not a pvp skill. but like the post said. Current thinking, possibilities considered, testing needs to happen, etc... With testing we might decide as a group not to have a separate skill/exp pool, or that pvpers need to gain regular combat exp also, making sure we maintain balance for pve people.
  15. Bohica

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    you flag pvp when you go into pvp zones, so i don't think there will be any criminal status.
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  16. Alayth

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    What about those who are maxed out in terms of level? Is this penalty going to be meaningless for them?
  17. jondavis

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    That the way I'm thinking but just because you want some good resources don't mean you want to be killed.
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  18. PrimeRib

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    Yeah, the looting thing just makes no sense on any level.
    1) You want more people in PvP, not less. And people are going to die much, much more in PvP than PvE. So the penalties should be much lower. (As nearly every other games does.) If PvP penalties are harsh, you end up trying to compensate by dumping tons of loot in PvP areas, which again, will cause more problems.
    2) The ransom system makes no sense. The "risk what you bring" can be a good way to keep people from bringing their best gear. (Like it would in say Eve.) But in our case the gear isn't that much better...it's more cosmetic. So you have a tremendous disincentive to ever wanting "good" gear at all.
    3) Focusing on individual fights instead of larger objectives is what caused the toxicity in UO, which really wasn't found in any other game. And the looting and trophies feed that while adding nothing good. The focus should be about securing the node / hex / objective.
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  19. Trok00

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    Ok, so I guess my concern then is with having to grind out 3 different level trees, I'll wait and see upon testing and then give feedback :)
  20. Miracle Dragon

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    • For the more virtuous of players, can they opt to not take a ransom, or an item, and just let their slain opponent die respectfully, with honor?
    • As an idea, perhaps the trophy should oppose the item, so if they pay the ransom to keep their item, they will lose an ear, but they could keep their ear & gold, if they are willing to part with their prized item.
    I like that you risk being looted and ransomed, and a 'bodily trophy' taken by both players and creatures (in both/either playstyle).


    I would like to request that within that 'hour window', the victor has the option to cancel the ransom. This would allow for some good RP, as victims might be willing to 'appeal' to their opponent, through service or pitiful begging, asking that they have mercy and don't take their item/gold/trophy.. and returns the feeling of control to the victor (which they have earned through combat). This could be used in PvE as well, for certain situations, perhaps with the intelligent opponents.

    Thanks for the great Mega-Post! Very excited to see this in action! ;D
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