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About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

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Delia
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Delia » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:40 am

Good to hear this!

Keep up the good work :)
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Allalltar » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:35 am

It weighs heavy on me watching how people treat our game mechanics. The mindset some of our players exhibit being exposed to flaws in our game logic is simply stunning.

I will give you an example or two. None of those are things done by just a single person ( I don't include those, I don't believe in blaming single persons)

Example: Oh, there's a way to juggle so fast that I can make all the money I can make in 5 seconds instead of 10 minutes.
Expected Response: report + commune. Pretty serious bug allowing to circumvent game mechanics.
Actual response 1: silently abuse it for months. Use triggers to make it as painless as possible to abuse it.
Actual response 2: Being pissed on having it fixed.

Example 2: There's a rather hard passage to get to a desired usable item. It's rather clear when these items will respawn and they are farmable pretty easily.
Expected response: Going there when your char goes this route, overcoming the obstacles, claim reward, be happy.
Actual response: Fight yourself there just before you stop playing and log out there so you can be the first to claim the reward without effort.

Example 3: Your char gains a new mechanic that very obviously allows you to circumvent the protection of a very guarded place with a lot of loot ( an artifact e. g. ).
Expected response: Checking with us whether it's OK to use this feature to get to the powerful item, or just not use the feature to get there.
Actual response: 'artifact runs' involving no effort on player side to get there.

There's a mindset behind these examples. And it's not like these are seldom. I would guess, we can observe about 10 - 20 every week being actively worked. Being reported? very few. There are a few people who stand out in reporting these. I am thankful for every last one of you being actually decent enough to report these flaws instead of abusing them.

Of course, the code is faulty in every of these example. When we put a feature in the game, we should've thought of the problems introduced. We should have caught the one or other error. But we didn't. The game is very complex and oversights will happen. As will code errors.

What I expect of you all is that you don't switch off your brain and go 'but the code allowed me to'. Use your mind and think through what you are doing. Actually also stick to more what your char would so as what would give you the most benefit. I doubt any char would camp in a remote place for weeks only to grab the magical reappearing flute of justice out of the withering box of secrets. Abusing code like that does not only hurt others and the game in general, it also hurts you. It ruins the fun, because you gain unfair advantage. Eventually you'll regret doing it, but then it's too late.

A rather angry and sad

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby ferranifer » Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:28 pm

I would like to add an aspect to this discussion. The part where some of this 'creative' uses of game mechanics are sometimes what actually defines what your character can do.

For example, consider Bob, a well trained warrior character that can beat an ogre. Let's say that it took Bob 6 months to get to the point where ogres are a no-brainer opponent. It takes Bob about 1 minute to defeat an ogre, consistently, every time. Now consider Jack, a mage, who spent 2 years training to be able to use magic, develop and learn a mind control spell. The ogre hides a treasure chest. It takes Jack 10 seconds to cast the spell and mind control the ogre out of the way. Is Jack doing it wrong for using his mind control spell to gain access to the chest?

Some toolkits come at a very heavy cost. You have to include the cost into the assessment. Just because some parts of the game are made easier by certain things, it doesn't mean they are broken.

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Noryb » Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:04 pm

ferranifer wrote:I would like to add an aspect to this discussion. The part where some of this 'creative' uses of game mechanics are sometimes what actually defines what your character can do.


While there is nothing wrong with your example, simply using darkness to run through a large team or group of monsters and their block is something that we don't consider a 'creative' use of game mechanics. Though, that ogre might be tired of being fooled like that and become more 'creative' himself.

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby ferranifer » Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:09 pm

Darkness for a cleric = be a cleric.
Darkness for a mage = years of training.
Darkness for common folk = not really possible.

Kill 20 orcs for a warrior = be a warrior.
Kill 20 orcs for common folk = be a warrior.
Kill 20 orcs for a mage = not really possible.

Should the mage refrain from using darkness? The niche usage of darkness to avoid fighting is what defines darkness as a part of the mage's toolkit. How is darkness different than a sword?

Also, there is a very clear distinction between the accessibility of darkness vs the accessibility of nightvision. The answer to the darkness problem doesn't need to be punishing everyone that can use darkness (for example, disallow walking properly in the darkness). That's of course if you're willing to consider mage darkness a legitimate tool.

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Delia » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:07 pm

A mage might be able to cast an equally powerful nightsight so the darkness in the mage example is not necessarily a problem, IMHO. Mage darkness works bit differently than cleric darkness as well.

When you use only darkness making your character effectively blind and operate him/her at peak efficiency(the player knows where and how to move, etc)I personally tend to see warning lights. Mage or not. Hence the moving while blind thread I started.
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Allalltar » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:40 am

The answer here is, as usually, common sense.

It is, of course, okay to utilize darkness to your advantage. However, there's a certain distinction you should make yourself aware. You overstep the line when you start skipping hours of grind and very powerful mobs to get ahold of artifacts or powerful resources where other people would have needed teams or _very powerful_ characters.

We are aware that there are things that are not ideal about the mage guild, structure, and progressing, but that is no excuse for switching off your brains. Yes, darkness gives you some power and it is part of your 'toolkit' and you should use it. Just try to think things through and consider for yourself. Warning signs, in my eyes, are 'am I skipping several hours of grind?'.

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby fernao » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:40 am

Allalltar wrote:The answer here is, as usually, common sense.

It is, of course, okay to utilize darkness to your advantage. However, there's a certain distinction you should make yourself aware. You overstep the line when you start skipping hours of grind and very powerful mobs to get ahold of artifacts or powerful resources where other people would have needed teams or _very powerful_ characters.

We are aware that there are things that are not ideal about the mage guild, structure, and progressing, but that is no excuse for switching off your brains. Yes, darkness gives you some power and it is part of your 'toolkit' and you should use it. Just try to think things through and consider for yourself. Warning signs, in my eyes, are 'am I skipping several hours of grind?'.


So putting it into context....
If a leading Satho, lets say Phelan or Lucious, were to use darkness and their ghoul/racial night side to bypass a couple of mobs that wouldn't take them more than a couple of minutes to dispose of, to get to a chest, it would be ok.
If newbie satho X, who would have trouble surviving the same guards, did the same, it would not be ok, as it bypasses the "others need strong characters/team" stipulation.

Or, if again Lucious or Phelan were to use darkness to get through a long maze of powerful opponents which they would need "hours" to fight through, again it would not be ok, as it bypasses the "skipping several hours of grind".

Correct?

So, common sense would dictate that for a powerful character doing exploring with the help of darkness runs the risk of potentially breaking a game logik.

I assume the invisibility mages are capable of falls into the same slot as darkness here.
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Delia » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:28 am

Darkness is way more powerful than the most powerful invisibility spell. Invisibility has received its share of beatings from the nerf stick ;)
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Aslak » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:14 am

I think the most simple solution to this would be to enable targeting in darkness/invisibility. It should instead give a boost to sneak/hide and not make a char vanish completely, and combat already has rules for darkness.
Of cause you do not know whom you attack, it should be something like random attack on everyone not in team with you, not a targeted "attack good twin of phelan".
Maybe just disable spell/miracle targeting in darkness, as that system currently is not integrated into a darkness combat.

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby isengoo » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:50 pm

Or just remove darkness.

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Delia » Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:54 pm

Or just remove darkness.


No! Darkness is very iconic, to me atleast, when it comes to Geas gameplay elements. It is one of the first things I remember that I have done, to panic, when the screen has gone dark and my mind screams Sathonites will sacrifice my character!

Darkness is very, very powerful as an ability but even more flavourful as a feature. I would be very sad to see it gone.

This being said, there is truth to it that that darkness sometimes is a huge tool of convenience. You can just basically use it and run around as you wish. Even if your character is basically blind as long as you yourself as a player are familiar with the mud.

Are there problems regarding darkness in the game? Yes. Should the ability be removed altogether? No, IMHO.

When it comes to what players can do against darkness it mostly comes to this: if you play the "optimized game", like I do believe most do as those light sources do weight/drain mana, it is not efficient to be always prepared against darkness and thus those using darkness against you almost always get the drop on you. Hence, the reputation darkness has in PvP atleast.

I could appreciate being able to light a lamp in combat with a chance of some fumbles, delay and combat penalties and other negative stuff if there was a hope for (non-magical)light though.
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Rastien » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:22 am

Delia wrote:This being said, there is truth to it that that darkness sometimes is a huge tool of convenience. You can just basically use it and run around as you wish. Even if your character is basically blind as long as you yourself as a player are familiar with the mud.

What about tossing in some dynamically changing exits in few areas?

Delia wrote:I could appreciate being able to light a lamp in combat with a chance of some fumbles, delay and combat penalties and other negative stuff if there was a hope for (non-magical)light though.

+1, that journey out of the bottom of one mine when I missed refilling of my lamp by few seconds was quite tedious.

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby luminier » Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:56 pm

I don't know exactly what the wizards want, but, I feel like you could make the case for both sides of use of darkness.

Using darkness to bypass monsters whether you are a weak or strong character is just smart play IMO. If you can see in the area with darkness on and skip monsters I don't feel like that should ever be labelled as abuse.

Using darkness to move around while your character is completely blind seems a little abusive. But saying you can't move when you can't see is sort of like saying blind people are completely immobile or have no idea where they are going. Blind people certainly have a harder time moving around, but it isn't impossible. If their lore of an area is good enough, they should have a lowered ill effect to moving around completely blind.

One thing I've found strange is "layering" darkness. I understand it's "magic" so ill let that one slide. Plus it makes the game mechanics more interesting and fun. But practically in real life it makes no sense.

which brings me to my next point. not everything in this game need be 100% practical and make sense. This is a game where magic exists. You could also make the argument that running around perfectly in complete darkness is metagaming. You are using information you know as a player to guide your character through something he probably shouldn't know being 100% blind.

Basically, after all this what I am saying is a basically agree with what poDelia has said.

Also about the lamp thing, Luminier carried around 4 large lamps and just lit them all when he was in a contested area. Thats 300ml x 4 of oil and that usually lasted about 20-30 mins... much longer than you typically need it for. or gives you enough time to refill. not even that much weight!
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Rastien » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:37 am

luminier wrote:Also about the lamp thing, Luminier carried around 4 large lamps and just lit them all when he was in a contested area. Thats 300ml x 4 of oil and that usually lasted about 20-30 mins... much longer than you typically need it for. or gives you enough time to refill. not even that much weight!

Not everyone is as strong as Luminier :D .

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby luminier » Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:25 pm

the maybe just one large lamp then. just one level of light for 20-30mins.
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Aturshus » Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:43 pm

Since this is an ongoing discussion...
NPC's just need to react better/at all when somebody enters the room with darkness

Specifically, guards and the like should block all exits and refuse to unblock until the darkness is lifted, maybe enemies should do the same.

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby luminier » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:22 am

Thats the point of darkness, to evade blocking. Unless you mean like a coded block. Which means youd have to recode quite a few monster files and you couldn't use the normal coded block since it would have to only work when there is darkness.

the thing to do would just have npc's create light in someway, when they can't see. but even that is a lot of work. that means you would have to recode the base monster files to have torches, lamps or set their nearest goblin on fire.
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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby Allalltar » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:28 am

Since this is an ongoing discussion...
NPC's just need to react better/at all when somebody enters the room with darkness


That is the kind of change that we are not particularly keen on doing. Sure we could spend all the hours of our coding time fixing potential loopholes, but then the mud wouldn't evolve anymore. Some responsibility has to be on your shoulders guys and gals, am sorry.

Besides, we do not want to 'nerf' darkness like that, there's many a situation where the use of darkness is completely acceptable and wanted and only a selected few where one can clearly see that you are abusing the game's mechanics. (getting artifacts with zero conflict is a strong one here).

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Re: About the use (and abuse) of game mechanics

Postby ferranifer » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:07 pm

Zero conflict =/= zero effort.


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