> ferranifer wrote:
> What the gods think of you = Favour.
> The moral universal standpoint of your actions = karma.
> in-game help wrote:
> Karma is the sum of your earthly deeds, as seen from the
> perspective of the gods
I concur with PO Cathal here, I think PO Ferranifer might have been confused for just a moment.
Favour is individual (per deity), karma is global (for all deities).
At least it was that way back in 2013, no idea how it is now.
> I don't think there are anyone who are great supporters of karma.
> Or any in-game mechanic that tries to evaluate your character
> and his actions.
Well, Abharsair added it, so I think at least one person liked it, and I think especially the Crusade depends on it (I even thought that the whole point of the karma system was to provide a framework for creating the Crusade), so I think all discussions about any change of it need to primarily ask the players of the Crusade what they want. It would be unfair to change the system and thus remove support for the roleplay the Crusade does, I have no idea.
Personally, it is nothing new of course, I never liked the karma system, but no need to repeat it over and over again. It also can not be really "fixed" with more code either. Of course it could be improved, caps, delays and thresholds be added, and different counting systems could be used (e. g. theft would be not so severe unless done repetitively in a short amount of time, but murdering Gerrit even a single time would be really, really evil, and so on).
You could even split it up, like favour, for each individual deity, so it could be evaluated individually. This might be an improvement if done properly, I can not say. But the core problem of the karma system, that some actions are evaluated, and others are not (see emotes) can never be completely fixed, as this requires manual work (admin monitoring players all the time and adjusting karma counter).
Or take the example Abharsair gave in another note of spies who would bypass the restrictions, pretend to be good but in reality act in an evil way.
And all this manual fixing will suck away time from admin, and we already know that admin does not have a lot of time available.
> They can be all be gamed and abused, are very flawed and limited
> and create their share of problems.
100% correct. This was however also known and stated by Abharsair even in 2007, if you read up on him writing about the limitations of the system.
> ferranifer wrote:
> Lastly, to this point in the thread, nobody has been able to
> explain what the "karma spread" mechanic is trying to
> accomplish. Why do we keep this mechanism when all it does
> is emphasize the problems with karma AND segregate the
> playerbase for no reason?
> PO Cathal:
> However, as it has been stated it is there for a reason.
> And the same applies to the karma spread. Back in the day
> when Cathal was the Taniel archbishop it was extremely
> common that the Sathos sacrificing people from the
> villages at their crosses for their evil god would be
> protected by a bunch of characters who would have
> perfect karma, claim to be good, their players had
> decided they are good and probably even to some extent
> believed that and still saw no problem with not only
> witnessing but also ensuring it could happen without
> any interruptions. But they'd sometimes not take part
> in something and instead just watch, using that to
> rationalize their gaming of the system. I don't know much
> of the real details but as a safeguard against extremely
> bad roleplay (which is unfortunately very common) I
> can't help but vote for it to stay as it is until some
> better alternative comes along. At least it forces you
> to consider who and what you are supporting.
I understand PO Cathal's reasoning and I think he is actually very, very correct. This is not the first time - many wizards, even Per, explained that sometimes, if players are cheating, the code is changed to counter that cheating. Or, if you think "cheating" is too strong a word, let's agree on "misuse".
This happened not for the first time. For instance, take teaming of Gwen and Asral worshippers. It happened in the past for no consequence, until a faith drop was added. Since then this has become less common, and even though I don't like this solution, I can understand it. And so PO Cathal's explanation makes a LOT of sense to me.
The very same happened with darkelves. I recall that Jahlad was roleplayed as a good darkelf, and PO Jahlad was a very experienced roleplayer. Obviously, it went against the
theme of the game (when many players play hippie good darkelves, the theme of evil darkelves is gone), and darkelves were made, by code, evil.
I do not agree with this either, but I can understand it. So as you can see, often enough wizards, especially admin, get grumpy, and "compensating" changes are made to the game world, to prevent "abuse" and so forth.
However, and here is the thing I actually disagree with PO Cathal - first off, there is no "safeguard" against extremely bad roleplay in my opinion, because the very karma system itself encourages bad roleplay. I gave some examples before - you basically give other players a tool, a weapon to use against you. See the situation of teaming e. g. with Saellyn. Other examples are characters who try to ICly explain why they start skinning and butchering. Or, my favourite example, the Satho who says he eats humanoids because he is hungry. Does this make any IC sense at all? Did the IC reason come with or without the karma system? Would this IC reason persist if it would have zero changes to karma, or not be promoted by +1 seeing in darkness by the code encouragement itself? And if the real reason for skinning, butchering, eating, is the +1 effect, then why is the explanation given "I was hungry!". Hmm.
These are questions that should be considered. Personally I can't help but feel that the karma system itself has never encouraged good roleplay at all, but it has led to a lot of inconsistent IC actions with absolutely no real IC foundation. A great example is PO Phaeniis - the whole karma system forced him to abandon or adapt his old character, it changed his personality too (back then). Perhaps it was an interesting change, perhaps not, but I myself would hate it if the underlying code forces me to adapt to something that is unfitting IC (and if I don't do this, then I may end up being screwed with my character, e. g. outlaw everywhere, hunted by every guild - now tell me how I can continue playing in such a situation effectively with no alternative? Read what PO Ronya wrote here before retiring, she gave excellent reasons.)
But PO Cathal forgot something else and this is that such a change will penalize ALL other players as well.
I give you the example of the change to 'who'. Now it was changed again, but the initial change would have eliminated me from the game. No matter what compensations are offered, this was the single most anti-social nerf that ever got into the game - and I am curious whether PO Ferranifer really does see it as an improvement, because from my point of view - and I hope that many can agree that my character was quite social, at least to most newcomers and hopefully also to most other Rangers - this change was awful. It was even more awful than the trap miracle joke, because the worst thing that the trap miracle could do, aside from destroying group PvP, was that I would auto-lose, but this is ok as long as I can have other players to interact with, and thus compensate for this massive nerf. This may be a bit strange to hear, but in essence, death is meaningless in the game, you only lose perhaps items and vitality (which both is a loss of time mostly), but you can still have a lot of fun with other players, If they play that is. But without 'who', ALL FURTHER interactions with other players are immensely handicapped and outright
crippled and sabotaged by people who do not even play the game. So yeah, now that says why my motivation to want to play the game is gone, wizards are simply too powerful and also clueless over real problems faced by players.
Anyway, my point is that even IF doing changes solves some problems, such as those players who protect Sathos and were assumed to have good karma, those changes also penalize OTHER players, often enough players who had nothing to do with this at all. Is this fair? What if all those older players retired already? Why would genuinely new players have to be affected by players who already retired?
But as written before, I think you gave the correct explanation why karma spread was added PO Cathal. Personally I do not agree with it though, I think it does not make any real sense.
The bilinear karma system has exceptions already. For instance, darkelves are eternally damned. I do not agree with this at all. Why would Gwen regard a darkelf as evil who attempts to worship her? But Gwen can not make any exception because the karma system forces her to treat darkelves as not fitting to her karma. (At least that used to be the case, perhaps the system was changed again, I have no idea. I just don't agree with this at all.)
When you have a faulty system, it cascades downwards even into roleplay.
> The best solution of course would be to allow players to
> alter their characters karma score or report their own
> sins and good deeds. There aren't many people I would
> personally trust with that type of a system.
Precisely. As you yourself wrote - some players will always decide not to report it, especially if penalties are associated with doing so. But still, the question of karma spread is something you have to consider here - I brought the example of Saellyn. Can you give an IC explanation why karma spread should occur in such a situation? I mean, it is simple to prevent it, granted, just allow a delay so that other players can disband the team with a "leave" command. But the problem still is - why would the situation be considered "just" that the karma spread would leak over to my character as well? It implies by code alone that my character would be supportive of that action (and right now that is always automatically the case, as far as I am aware, because no delay is in place; the moment someone does an action is the moment karma spread will occur. And of course there are other examples of karma spread, such as when you attack a "holy" karma person and vice versa. Why are such actions considered good or evil at all? If a Gwen worshipper attacks an Asral cleric who has pitch black karma, is this a good or evil action? If a Gwen worshipper attacks an Asral cleric who has extreme holy karma, is this a good or evil action?)
> ferranifer wrote:
> I think a world where your character is judged by mortals
> based on its actions and not based on a limited number
> of abusable minigames is preferable to a world where
> favour and alignment are mixed together and people is
> pushed away from each other from some strange spidey-sense
> mechanic that nobody can even explain.
100% agreed with PO Ferranifer.
> PO Cathal wrote:
> The problem here is that if there is no code support for
> any consequences for your actions it always comes down to
> someone's word against the word of someone else. How
> do you prove that a character who gets caught red
> handed killing some NPC is lying when he claims that
> the NPC attacked him? Again, it is a very rare player who
> actually roleplays getting caught, having blood on his
> clothes, having left clear evidence of what he just
> did. No, karma doesn't solve all that and the system can
> still be abused but it is a step to right(?) direction.
But you show one extreme here. I also showed the example of where actions influence other characters because of the karma spread.
The problem of NPC killing is something else:
You describe that there is or should be a global system used for reporting, that will always be accurate in its reporting. This is the bilinear karma system. It is like a global big brother, and it is assumed that it works perfect. I don't think it works perfect at all.
Even in the bilinear karma system, you can not for sure know that someone killed a NPC, because he could just be a thief, no? Or he could just have attacked another character with good karma, right? Are both the same actions? Why would someone who attacks someone with good karma automatically be evil? Why not neutral? What if that good karma person is just killing a lot of undead, but also tortures people left and right, but outcompeting his evil karma with good karma derived from undead? Even among all characters with good karma, there may be huge differences, but the karma system itself can not differ between these.
> PO Delia wrote:
> I do not really know but I think the karma system can
> be a bitch for those trying to keep an extreme alignment.
Nope, it is trivial. Just do extreme actions, e. g. undead killing.
> Actually, it is very easy for those who actually follow the
> rules of the "extreme" Gods to the letter, it happens pretty
> much automatically.
Correct. Except that killing undead simply is MUCH, much more effective than e. g. donating to charity.
> I would claim that people for whom it is really a pain
> are a very limited number and more likely closer to
> the middle.
Correct, especially those who do not have extreme deities.
> Should those characters who are not clerics or follow
> their laws to the letter be really good in the
> first place just because their players "wants"
> them to be? For what purpose?
Counter question to you here PO Cathal:
Should other characters regard ALL clerics automatically as better and ideal than followers?
Because I can tell you, I have witnessed followers who roleplayed better, and more consistently, than some of the clerics who spent 98% of their time grinding away monsters. Not much roleplay to be found in that latter group. Yet the game code 100% favours clerics, by code alone.
My favourite example is the preaching mechanic.
When a cleric can jump-rush into a room to ambush-preach, and start to preach in the ancient language (and the target character is both sitting, and does not understand the language), saying "Do not worship my god! Do not worship my god!", the target character will start to worship the god eventually, due to the mechanic. Yet if that character just pushes his position upwards by some centimeters, to no longer be resting, he is 100% immune to this vile attack, even if he would understand the ancient language, and the sermon would be a PERFECT sermon (like the one from PO Tatiana \o/).
I dislike that the code itself regards clerics as automatically perfect and better than followers regardless of any shitty roleplay that can be done by some clerics. And believe me, some players will even purposely do that, to try their "limits". It is unavoidable.
> I personally consider karma to be 'sum of earthly deeds as
> considered by the Gods'
But not all karma actions are deeds. Karma spread is not an active deed. The bias against darkelves is not an active deed.
The whole karma system itself is not consistent at all.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you whip gremlins with a whip, no karma change occurs, yet if you do a single lash-command, you end up as the most awful person on earth, even if you kill a million gremlins before and spit on them all the while.
> as the help states with the realization that not me, my character,
> nor anyone else for that matter, needs to agree with the Gods'
And who is to say that a helpfile is perfectly correct? Take riding on goblin spiders changing karma. Now, it was a bug in my opinion, because the wizard was unhappy with a player riding all over Forostar, but of course, all changes to the karma will not always make it into a helpfile. Then there are other helpfiles like the one about half-elves. It was clearly written by an opinionated wizard, it is MUCH much longer than e. g. a helpfile about dwarves, and it even attempts to use propaganda to persuade players that half-elves live in sewers (what the ... ???).
Anyway, I do agree with you in one respect - the system is what it is, for better or worse, and it was up to the one who added it to define it in this way. But just because that definition and explanation was given, does not always mean it is a correct explanation, or
one to be used.
I give you two other examples - first one about the skill system, then one about backstabbing.
Skills are counted from 0-100 technically. Wizards encourage to not have players do "Hey, I have sword 78." Instead it is recommend to say something like "I am a junior amateur." or whatever. A year or perhaps two years ago, a translation table was added. Now I found that completely useless, because my characters would never use either of that - neither the point system, nor the verbose description. And the reason is that I can not explain ICly why my characters should be able to differ between skill rank 66 or 67. It makes no sense to me at all, so I rejected the whole system from an IC perspective.
The other example is about backstabbing.
In particular, there were discussions between PO Isengorn, Abharsair, Drake and Naga years ago.
See this thread:
Drake mentioned the "smiling satanically" powermote when backstabbing. Naga took nother opinion and I concur with PO Naga 100%. Why does my character have to smile like an idiot when performing a backstab action? Why is the halfling rescuing a village from a Satho with a backstab action hated in that village, even though he rescued many villagers? It simply makes zero IC sense to me, and while I can understand that Abharsair wanted to have this in the game in the way it was implemented (the classic good vs. evil struggle, I can understand that), the thing is that the arguments brought by PO Isengorn are much more logical and convincing. That is not to say that I say I disagree with Abharsair, mind you - I am fine that the game is opinionated like that. I just dislike the explanations given, especially the poweremote, which is total crap. If you gore Gerrit with a
spear when he is tied up, why do you not "grin evilly" automatically? Surely it is not a nice action, is it?
> My character can think that Crusaders forcing me to follow
> their rules are evil and that is just fine.
No, that is not fine, because there exists an IC problem, and this is that both the Crusade and the clergy of Taniel worship Taniel. And in doing so, there exists a dilemma.
You can not call the Crusade evil as a cleric of Taniel and vice versa, because that would mean that you'd go against divine rules by Taniel himself. I don't know how Glasp's codex affected the clergy of Taniel, but this was always a problem many years ago, even mentioned by PO Sun before Glasp's change, that there exists an IC problem - how many divine codices can you actually have? What if they are conflicting? And they were in conflict at least for a while with traitors (the Crusade was allowed to forgive traitors, yet with Glasp's change even those who left the guild long ago suddenly and automatically became enemies; I noticed that myself when Osiron was still a cleric, and he could not team with Glorfindel while all were fighting against a darkelf raid).
> And the karma system may say that they are the good guys
> and I am not and that is just fine.
That may be but the karma system is absolute - either you have negative karma, then you simply are evil, or you don't, then you are not. I mean, just give your earlier example again of players who aligned themself to maximum positive karma, yet protected Sathos who butchered whole villages at the same time.
> Because that is a scale used by the Gods for Godly things,
> not something I or my character need to be directly concerned
As a cleric you have to be, because some miracles might no longer work. So it of course affects you. Plus the psychological factor, if the NPC cleric tells you that you are an awful sinner and must better your ways, many players will try to better their ways as a result.
> Sure, my character worries for his soul and all that but
> nobody is perfect.
So you are a sinner!
> I have my own morals and I can call myself good in any case.
But that is up to an individual, and the gods may all think that you are a sinner, and evil! Take your example with those who protect the Sathos. There can be many explanations given why they did not regard themselves as evil.
But the system states that they are evil. There is no alternative to it (ok, not technically back then, because it was not coded that way). All thieves are evil when they do theft - because the system tags them as such. Now they can argue all day long, but the gods all agree that theft is evil - Lilith likes theft-action, Taniel does not.
> And thus I have no need to game the system just to have some
> number where I "want it to be".
Yes, those on the extreme ends have it very easy. Those who are not, do not.
> It is not going to be something extreme unless I do something
How is karma spread extreme? I mean you refer to actions here, but karma spread can also occur when you are not the one doing the action. Take my example of Saellyn - I did not do anything but karma spread will leak over.
> I am not trying to advocate the "everything is relative and
> the Gods don't matter" viewpoint here, just the more practical
> "surely I can get to heaven if I break some of the 10 commandments
> here and there as long as it is not one of the big ones and I
> don't do it too much and I do the whole confessing thing afterwards.
> And I really wanted that trinket, I'll give to charity the next time."
I think you are evil. You took that trinket which did not belong to you. What now? You surely must have evil karma the moment you took that trinket - as long as you did not give it to charity yet, you are evil still.
Of course I agree here because karma is not static, it changes with the actions done, so someone with a pitch-black aura may end up with a glowing white aura if karma-yielding actions are done lateron, and then pitch-black again.
The problem is that you can not easily discern between actions done ICly because of IC reasons, and IC actions done because of OOC actions. And players will ALWAYS try to find explanations or excuses, if you so will, so you can never really successfully argue either.
> As for whether the archbishop should have some way to affect it,
> I think either way it is problematic. In option one you have the
> possibility to abuse the system while everyone actually knows that
> you are doing it (which has happened on occasion). In the other
> option there is the possibility that the players just get it
> completely wrong what type of a character someone else is or
> what he has done (which has happened on occasion).
Completely agreed. Giving players more weapons will lead to more abuse. The judge system in general is a great example of that.
It would be a lot of fun to give players ways to change karma directly - they could finally become gods, and play as such.
I always wanted to make Ghalt have extreme good karma for that orange beard alone!
Perhaps we could even turn Ghalt into some god entity and teach us cooking.
> I wouldn't actually mind splitting karma per God as well,
> with Taniel objecting breaking laws more than Evren who
> would in turn abhor taking lives more. But I still don't
> see anything working with just one value, it would still
> take two, one for judgement of your actions and one for
Yes, favour would still be different, but I already think that favour is affected by karma to a certain degree, though I may be wrong. I think there may be different gains, but perhaps more loss of favour when karma is not matched. The example of teaming with opposing-faith is an example of that, but I think there are more. But please don't quote me on that, I am rather unsure actually ...
I think the reasoning behind that was that it was assumed as unfitting for e. g. a Satho follower to still have a lot of evil faith yet perfect positive karma. I am not completely sure however, because I also distinctly remember having read older discussions that this was not the case, and not resolved, and also led to frustration that such players will be and act like that.
I can give you another example.
PO Jezz, my favourite example - I love you man - has been famous as a fun evil (yep, he ruled), including having a great alignment (alignment was the old system before karma). When asked why he, as an evil character, has such a great alignment, he said something along the lines - but don't quote me on this:
"People love me because I am a good person!"
And I think it was a GREAT reply given by him.
Because why not? Why shouldn't a Satho play differently?
It's a matter of definition. I don't have a Satho, and the game world is unfortunately static, but in a dynamic game world, I would not care to roleplay in ANY way how a system wants to force me to roleplay, as long as I achieve (in honesty) IC goals of the deity at hand. But this is not how the MUD was setup, and I think players need to match to the reality how the MUD was setup, rather than how it should ideally *be*.