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On the balance between guilds and characters

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amrat
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On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby amrat » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:21 am

Hello,
this note started as a reply on the thread about the relative strength of clerics but it quickly outgrew that context. Instead this could be considered a rant by someone who quite strongly disagrees with the direction the MUD has had for a while now, both within the playerbase and compared to the current official view as well, and finds himself to be in an even smaller minority than he initially expected. I'll quote things from several other threads with the purpose of trying to clarify the more general view of the MUD that I have and how I'd like things to be, rather than replying on the individual threads and topics, hoping that this way perhaps the sight of the forest is not lost for the trees. I don't know what the point of this thread really is, perhaps it is just a final rant before giving up and moving on.

Basically all the MMORPGs in existence follow the same basic gameplay formula. You start with basic equipment and very few skills, fighting against pretty basic monsters that match you and your current level. After getting some experience and thus new skills, somewhat better equipment you move to the next area with slightly harder opponents that match your new equipment and capabilities. It used to be that you'd need to do some grinding to get there but in modern ones you basically stay on course just by doing the quests thrown your way and everything progresses pretty much automatically. Everything more than a few levels below you is basically a joke and anything above is impossible. Everything in the world scales the same way with the initial sword having damage of 20, a few levels forward you get a damage 200 one, then 2000 etc. This is not a revolutionary concept in any way, with all the single player RPGs having followed more or less the same approach for decades before the MMORPGs became a thing. That's what MMORPGs generally are, single player games where you can run around seeing other people play their single player games in the same world. Of course you can have a few friends join you but it doesn't really matter as content is generally easy enough to breeze through solo and with some friends you can do the couple levels above you content in advance and have the same level of challenge. All the guilds/professions must therefore be pretty equal for this solo-content although there are great debates which build is best for leveling and what has 2% more DPS for end-game content.

MMORPGs in general also try to implement content that differs from this formula. Almost all now have some sort of PvP arenas where you can fight against other players and usually there is some mechanic to scale the players of different levels to match eachother. These game modes allow for some cooperation where you have your standard tanks/melees, dps, healer, misc roles. There also some cooperative multiplayer content which are often considered the "meat" of the MUD, usually going by the name "dungeon" or something similar. These are completely separate instances of some place where you join a group with a set number of players in which you fulfill one of the main roles. These are generally designed for characters of specific level. As these are separate game modes also the rewards are usually separate from the "main" game, and usually come as special currencies or tokens that you can use to buy things with from special stores.

The main differences between MMORPGs besides graphical etc things, the world-lore and quests (which are generally much worse than you'd expect from a proper game) are in the character builds, how they are created, how balanced they are for different game modes etc. The real challenge here of course is to make that pure healer role character playable also in solo-grind and for guilds to at least appear to be somehow different from eachother and still keeping them exactly as powerful.

The main element for getting players to stay in the game and play it is the feeling of continuous improvement and achievement. Much of it is illusion of course, you are still fighting the wolf you were fighting in the beginning except this time its fur is different colour, it has 30 times the hitpoints and a higher level showing nex to it, but luckily the awesome sword you just got has 30 times the damage the first one had and you have 30 times better armours. With the amount of competition (and money) between MMORPGs it is not surprising that in general they do this whole thing quite well and smoothly. This type of games also demand massive amounts of content, even if much of it is just copies of the same and nothing really holds any ingenuity.

A different group of very popular games that could be considered here are the (team-based?) PvP games. Instead of all the content being basically PvE these games consist of different arenas (or in some cases a large world) where the players fight eachother. Many have different RPG-elements, as they are called, in the form of skills and equipment. From balance and character build design point of view the challenge in these games is generally the opposite of MMORPGs. In MMORPGs you try to maintain the feeling that the world is at least somewhat realistic and balanced even though everything in the 10th city you enter costs 1000 times more than in the first one, the legendary lost sword you got just an hour ago is actually worse than the peasants have here and if one wolf got lost it could actually slaughter cities just a bit to the west. In PvP games you try instead to give the illusion of big improvement while, if everyone is fighting against eachother, you actually try to make any improvements as cosmetic as possible in practice. Again, the design challenge is often keeping everything equal in power while still introducing at least a couple of unique mechanics that people can use.

I am sure there was no new information to anyone in the overly long chapters above, I just felt that I should write it out anyway just to get a good baseline. Clearly with an agenda in mind, I am going to discuss a few other types of games as well although these are clearly not very common.

The best roleplaying MUD I've ever player was sometime in the late 90s. It was set in a fantasy world, there were the standard races (humans, elves, dwarves..) although the differences were downplayed to the limit of "are they actually different races at all". It consisted (as far as I know) of six rooms. There were barely any mechanics implemented. There were very simple items, but they didn't do anything. There was no combat, no skills, stats.. When you entered the MUD, you walked through the front door of an inn, located in a somewhat isolated part of the world between two nations in war. There was a second room that you could enter from the first and a staff/VIP room with restricted access. Additionally there were 3 rooms upstairs that you could rent for sleeping and other things. And it was absolutely brilliant. People would create magnificient characters with great backstories and stories in general about events they had just experienced outside of the inn. The best ones were usually the simpler ones, about how they had been at the lumberjack cottage higher up in the mountains and they saw a lynx in the morning, the morning after that and how its fur reflected light at the first rays of the sun against the snowy mountains and then in the next morning and the morning after that and how then it didn't come anymore but it didn't bother them because they were tough lumberjacks and thus they drank some more. This is also where I met the absolute best character/role-player I've met, she(?) played a prostitute and would just talk her way through anything. She was good enough for me to often log in, just to drink a beer or two in silence and listen to her. Of course all good things must come to an end, more and more people came who drew attention to themselves with overly dramatic stories with perfect or "misunderstood" characters, most annoying of which were the "I am a princess and I just lost my baby" types. Not only is that very much a clichee (in context), it is also very draining as it drowns out everything else and demands absolute attention. There's no room to talk about a lynx you saw next to that. And when there were three like that in the inn simultaneously it killed the game completely. After a prolonged absence of mine the MUD was just gone, no idea what happened to it.

What made the game so brilliant was the fact that there were no distractions. Everything was extremely contained, there was no chance of not meeting other people. Every player knew they had just entered an inn, there was no need to run anywhere else. The world was good enough to allow people to create all those stories, although, as mentioned, the best ones were actually quite universal.

There are roleplaying servers for several MMORPGs but I have not seen any that wasn't horribly bad. Even more than PvP or multiplayer content, which are their own game modes, roleplaying is a glued on thing that is not really supported by the system, and more importantly, is not supported by the world. You can try to go into an inn and explain to them how you just saw a lynx but a separate chat window or bad emote animations are a very bad medium for it and the absurdity of the world invalidates much of what you are trying to talk about even if you had found the one person who'd be willing to listen and the sheer size of the world makes all that pretty much impossible in my opinion. This idea that roleplaying is the glued on chatting that happens as a separate thing from the actual game leaks into Geas from time to time as well.

In both PvE and PvP games the content is pretty much pre-created and part of the game. There is potential for some stories to come out of how this game content played out and how things happened, but generally sharing that is not part of the game experience anymore, but rather for discussions with other players.

The roleplaying example is a lot less straightforward to define. There are of course some agreed on things, mainly the world in which the game happens, and that can be considered to be pre-created content that is part of the game. There's also the content that players create while in the game, such as getting into arguments with other people, plots and rumours they create against other characters etc. This creates stories also for other characters even while the people who started those events aren't currently present. But especially in case of the example given I would say that most of the content was created by players while they were not actually in the game. All the (best) events and stories had to be worked on already prior to logging in, as they often needed planning and preparations.

This leads to the fourth type of content creation, the type created by the players themselves as made possible by the game. In practice this often requires some type of roleplay to be enforced. There are of course possibilities (and games using it) of allowing players to trigger world events to other players without roleplay, but the content itself is still pretty much predefined.

I think in many ways this is the most challenging approach, but also the one I find most rewarding.

Without some type of a conflict there is no story. Without some kind of protagonist and antagonist there is no drama. Even in the lynx story, conflicts exist and they are what make it interesting, whether it is about the sudden disappearance, basically an invitation to create possible scenarios of what could have happened or the internal conflict of the lumberjack as to why he cares. "A hobbit had a powerful ring. Ringwraiths came over and had tea. Everyone was happy." Thus one could say that creation of stories and content in a game that relies on players to do it equals to players creating and playing out conflicts in the world. I think that is probably the main point of this whole note (one I've tried to make before) and I am sure there are plenty of people who disagree with it, but please do not reject it out of hand.

Geas has always had a bit of everything in it but to me the main point has always been the fourth. And while there has certainly been other considerations as well, I feel this has always been the most important one. And certainly when it comes to things like relative strengths of characters or guilds, design of guild features and such, it is by far the least obvious and straightforward one.
Aslak wrote:Never understood why the legion was disbanded anyways. Liked my old little Legioneer back then, if I would just recall his name.

I think this is a good example. I believe it was disbanded because it didn't fulfill its role which was to act as the antagonist to anyone or anything that was considered immoral, illegal and wrong by "the majority of the civilized world". The problem was that legionaires generally didn't care or if they did, they didn't actually act on it. And those who did had a hard time explaining their actions. "Why do you hate darkelves? They haven't done anything." And isn't that what people are requesting, a warrior guild without all those annoying responsibilities, rules and restrictions?
ferranifer wrote:Isn't the extreme polarization of the game world part of the problem here too? The world of Geas is basically run by religion and that is supported not only by player social constructs, but also by the actual guild designs and game mechanics. Isn't this discussion about precisely that? The basic arguing point is: are clerics too strong for the game world?

It is very tricky to define purposes for guilds without using the God method. Anything else can be overruled by "common sense" but if the God tells you that this is what you should be doing, it should be rather set in stone. People are generally lazy and have been taught that conflict is bad since they were children and thus the guilds always drift towards passiveness and general indifference unless there is some higher power keeping things in check. As I've understood it the clerics have always been powerful in Geas because they by design are the protagonists or the antagonist to several factions and groups of people in the MUD. The sathonys clerics are supposed to and need to be able to make things happen with low numbers, but allowing them to completely overrun the world creates an unsustainable situation. The taniels were supposed to be able to stand against the forces of evil, even if outnumbered, but without having the power to overrun everything else. Thus their powers are mostly directed against evil and quite limited in general combat. The asrals were designed as clerics of war who would use any excuse to create conflicts, thus the need for them to be able to almost wage a war alone. Legion had the fixed purpose, with the crusaders I would assume the goal was to have their previous purpose set in a less flexible way as well as make them natural allies for Taniels who had a ton of responsibilities.

There is a lot of instances of people saying that the clerical things happen instead of other things and if they had less power, more would actually happen. I call BS. For instance when the mages were created there were requests by wizzes on these forums to create some tensions with them, distrust and animosities. Absolutely nothing has happened. And as things are I don't think anything will ever happen unless one of the clerical instances gets a Godly order to act against them. The only reason why the clerical things are so dominating is the utter failure of us to create anything else. There are no rules not to create other content in the MUD. In fact there are tons of things in the game lore that should be creating tension constantly, like the treatment of Tshaharks for instance. Although I don't think the clerics have exactly been fulfilling their role recently either.

There are several recent threads in the forums about the relative strength of guilds and characters. They make me very sad as to me they all seem to be concentrating on making the game "fair" in different situations, in the MMORPG way. How about looking at it the other way around? Which are the groups of people who would need power in order to make things happen in this MUD? For several years now the MUD has been unbearably boring. I agree that the Asrals are completely overpowered as things are. Not as much because of whom they can or cannot beat in a fight but because they have power to start things and actually see it through but instead they are completely passive, act like the "real good guys" while sitting in Arborea (from where their guild was thrown out because it was used as an excuse to be passive). I completely agree that if they don't intent to actually fulfill the role, they shouldn't have the power either. Same applies to Taniels, Crussies and Sathos. If being a "goodie" feels too easy, it is probably because you are not being a "goodie". Like I've mentioned in some other threads, I think it is still easily the most demanding role there is. Trying to build a sandcastle and to protect it is much harder than trying to kick and break it. Are the crusader towers overpowered compared to Asral miracles? Is that really the question we should be asking, isn't it rather what do they need for the MUD to stay interesting and what is their role in that?

The problem with for instance mages and shaos is that they have no purpose in the world when it comes to creating content. They are passive guilds that would require players to create something. That happens extremely rarely and that is a problem with their design. Shouldn't there be a thread or two from mage chars somewhere asking for the wizzes to add things that force them to be evil every once in a while? Or to give them responsibilities and reasons to act either as protagonists or antagonists in some scenarios? With great power should come great responsibilities.

Yes, I agree that at times the clerical things go too much into the realm of PvP arenas rather than stories, but again, who can fix that other than those taking part?

Aslak wrote:I think Ewelyn is quite a bad example, as she failed to see IC realities and fell on her nose over and over because of that. Being an strict extremist does not mean everyone agrees with your path and at that time, even Taniel church did not agree about many things.

The way things usually work when the creation of content is left to the players is that there are creators and there are consumers. The creators have been and most likely will be a minority although Geas has been blessed with some good ones over the years. It is generally a thankless job where you put massive amounts of time and effort to create things for other players, at least a subset of whom misunderstand things, take everything opposing their character as an OOC insult and believe that any conflicts that exist in the game world were created by evil people who try to stop others from having fun in the MUD. The rest think that "they beat you" when the storyline comes to an end. And the in-game reward is usually that you get to create a new character. Basically the gameplay rewards passiveness. That's why for instance the quote above bothers me. I know this is not really the context in which Ewelyn was brought up, but the character is being discussed as if having failed at something or like the PO didn't know what she was doing. She created a big stir, a lot of discussions and events in the world and is being discussed years afterwards. Sounds like a sound success to me (no, it is not me). This is also why the threads about "how we should treat eachother" of which several exist at the moment bother me as well. Not that I would disagree with treating other players properly but because trying to create and play out things is already extremely challenging and time-consuming. With the constant flow of complaints about everything that happens in the game world nobody will want to start anything ever again. The last satho uprisings were already handled by OOCly whining on the forums instead of in the game, and it seems many of the instances mentioned also in these threads are overreactions to completely reasonable actions by other characters (no, I don't mean your case, but the other ones). A constant fear of accidentally doing something that someone can misunderstand, take out of context and personally is going to paralyze this MUD completely. Taking things happening to your character as anything more than as things happening to your character is usually not the right way.

So, what do I think should be done? As mentioned above, I think most of the ways people have suggested for the guilds to be balanced will lead to a game that is ultimately a PvE "kill goblins" game where you can chat afterwards. I am sorry but there are better games for killing goblins, most have graphics that are far superior. I find the "constant feeling of improvement" approach for old chars completely unsustainable for a MUD like this. There is absolutely no way to combine the MMORPG feeling of constant improvement with a MUD where you act together with newer characters in a sustainable way. Or at least like with guilds it should come with the responsibility of constantly creating events for the other players rather than acting as a passive force. Adding more and more areas, while it may sound like a good thing, is not something the playerbase can actually support if there is to be any roleplaying around. Neither does the required amount of grinding allow for interaction or characters designed to play out a story.

So, what was the point of all this? I don't know. All I know is that if I wanted to play a game where I can grind my character to be more powerful, I have several dozens to choose from. If I want to do PvP fighting, there are probably even more. If I want to do proper roleplaying or play out stories with other characters, there are very very few around. Maybe I'll just thank all the people who put in the effort to create events for us to play through and discuss about in the past and accept that this is a different MUD now.

@Amrat

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2428 Clerics, Too strong? (minor spoilers!)
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2370 What would make you come back to Geas?
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1901 Magic and Gods Revisited
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2439 How should we treat eachother? and others

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luminier
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby luminier » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:49 am

Great post. It inspires me to want to go out there and cause a lot of big annoying conflicts for everyone!

I really like what you've said here and I think the game does THRIVE from drama. When the drama king/queen are announced each year it is usually the people that are overly emotional. I think perhaps it should be given to whoever starts the most RP drama scenarios that have the biggest effects.

Ewelyns character arc was -JUST RECENTLY- finally wrapped up.

I don't want to toot my own horn (but I will), but, I feel like a lot of people talk about Luminier and his actions in the world too. Thats part of what keeps me playing and why I strive to be a leader and strive to better myself. But honestly, If my friends didn't also play this game, I would stop playing.

Again, Ill be honest. Roleplay for me is secondary. I much prefer to go out hunting with my RL friends and just talk over facebook to them about whats going on in Geas.

Doing what Ewelyn did is too stressful for me. That is usually why I take to the forums to make sure everyone is OK OOCly because in Geas I don't get to talk to them OOCly... it's only the IC hatred they have for my character. I want to make sure that IC hatred is actually IC not OOC as well.

Hope that clears the air a little bit about why things are the way they are in Geas.


EDIT: Another thing that causes problems in the game is the players not respecting the power of other players. Or if they do respect their power it is in the wrong way.

It seems to me in this game if someone can't kill you, their opinion is largely ignored. Ewelyn is a prime example. If Ewelyn was as big as Luminier, people MIGHT have taken her more seriously. That is plain just wrong I think. The limited power she did wield she used and it was just largely ignored. IC Luminier always will support Ewelyn when people called her crazy because crazy or not, she was a character with principles. And that doesn't come around too often.
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby rex » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:28 am

Great post. One thing I would like to comment on...

amrat wrote:Hello,
I agree that the Asrals are completely overpowered as things are. Not as much because of whom they can or cannot beat in a fight but because they have power to start things and actually see it through but instead they are completely passive, act like the "real good guys" while sitting in Arborea (from where their guild was thrown out because it was used as an excuse to be passive). I completely agree that if they don't intent to actually fulfill the role, they shouldn't have the power either.


I remember when we attacked the Asral chapel/keep with Mathias and a heard of tshaharks when it was in Arborea and destroyed it completely. That was great fun and really something Rex is proud of doing.

I took a long break from Geas and when Ireturned it was like everyone forgot about it. I feel like although the Asrals are 'out' of Arborea things seemed to have reverted back to the way they were and the only thing that has changed is their keep isn't in Arborea anymore. I don't see Asrals in my view as being the type to hide behind laws and rules of a city and I find it really odd that they are judges in Arborea. By Asrals running Arborea, not only are the asrals then overpowered physically, but they take away the power that controlling a city gives from other players. This type of play allows them to really play a 'passive' role and doesn't allow for 'war and death' role I view the Asral followers of having.

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby ferranifer » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:21 am

Thanks for this article.

I don't feel you paint a fair picture of the objectives behind good MMORPG design, but I don't want to digress the thread. Let me just say that good MMORPGs are those that put the players in an enviroment where they can explore a fantasy and live memorable experiences with other people within that fantasy. The grind and the balance and the numbers and statistics are just the way the world works. The narrative there is the struggle and the dedication leading to the moment of joy and relief when your group of 20 players manages to defeat Lord Ragnaros. MMORPG designers aren't out there to mechanize your life and turn you into a drone. They are on a mission to make you laugh and cry, to feel growth and build companionship with your fellow players.

Now to the real topic.

I think it's important to make the distinction between rolepaying and storytelling. I like Geas over "role-playing" heavy MUSHes (storytelling chat rooms like the one you described) because you can compose stories in a more nuanced way, since your words must be supported by your actions and your character isn't just defined by what you say. It's not for everyone since it also requires heavy time investment so you are who you claim to be but I think this approach roots the storytelling into the realities of the World and can ultimately generate more memorable experiences. I am personally not interested on the poetic, domestic or marital conflicts of the latest drama-divas and rather focus on the grand (and small) sagas that shape the history of the game, so you can imagine how I have my reservations about the quality of what happens in the Elvandar marketplace.

Ultimately Geas isn't as "theater of the mind" as some other (very few) MUDs out there where you can go and create a character with a background and skillsets and real power right from square one. But on the other hand, Geas is unique in its own way of combining both heavy roleplaying and a deep and rich character development system that even the most hardcore overachievers can thrive in.

With that, I think you're spot on when talking about the passivity of the player base. You might be misled or misinformed about the specifics of certain groups - that I won't go into now - but yes generally there is a lot of friction against arcs and events that actually mean something. Unlike you though I believe this problem stems from the rigidity and polarization of certain in-game organizations and designs. Pet peeve of mine being how religion trumps everything and multiple characters are so adamantly righteous that most conflicts are reduced to "do what my god says". It's difficult to make something not-religious happen when the World is in constant danger of being overrun by heathens. Hey, it's just a design like any other and it's a powerful engine to generate content, but I feel like it's always the same content and that gets boring over time.

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Eluriel » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:03 pm

luminier wrote:It seems to me in this game if someone can't kill you, their opinion is largely ignored.

This has been my problem. I feel like, if I want to start conflict, I have to be able to back it up. Otherwise, it will be brushed off or I will find myself being killed very often. And, like has been said, it offers little reward, as a likely end result is that your character will become ostracized and nearly unplayable and everything will go back to the status quo. There are also actions my character might reasonably take but which would severely limit what I could do in the game. So, although it might make for some interesting roleplay for a bit or would be something my character would do, if it cuts off a large part of the game for me, what is the point in doing it?

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Mogwai » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:34 pm

Eluriel wrote:
luminier wrote:It seems to me in this game if someone can't kill you, their opinion is largely ignored.

This has been my problem. I feel like, if I want to start conflict, I have to be able to back it up. Otherwise, it will be brushed off or I will find myself being killed very often. And, like has been said, it offers little reward, as a likely end result is that your character will become ostracized and nearly unplayable and everything will go back to the status quo. There are also actions my character might reasonably take but which would severely limit what I could do in the game. So, although it might make for some interesting roleplay for a bit or would be something my character would do, if it cuts off a large part of the game for me, what is the point in doing it?


Eluriel brings up an excellent point. Completely agree. To be start conflict is to make significant sacrifices.

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Delia » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:38 pm

It could be said that the ability to kill someone is usually the only resource in Geas. If you have that or control that you have the status, influence and credibility having and/or controlling resources brings.

If players who are part of larger organizations had to manage and allocate more varied resources on both strategic and tactical scale the whole thing could change.

Also it would place a different kind of responsibility to being part of something than receiving an equipment and skill upgrade if every organization would actually gather raw material stockpiles for equipment, building projects, upgrades and payments.

People outside the guild would become a precious workforce resource and also a potential political force.

I am not suggesting here that players would have to scrape 24/7 for every gram of iron out there. Just a rough idea which I have tried to suggest before.
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Skragna » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:53 pm

I'm more enamored of something like what Glorfindel posted in another thread. I think it could be expanded to fit into this too, though. Make manpower an actual, factual /thing/, for every guild. ALL of them. The Sathonites have undead they can stick around, the Crusade has watchtowers... Give Asralites something they can do. Perhaps groups of mercenaries that patrol around, or give them some sort of constructable fortress or barricade to man. Rangers could hire folk to help them scout areas and keep them safe, and so on. If every guild has to do /something/ to keep their appearance to the "invisible NPCs" up, then the dynamic will drastically change. Suddenly newbies are capable of holding a great deal of influence, just because they know people or have a bit of money. Money can be sunk into this new economic, et cetera.

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Delia » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:58 pm

Have to add, a great post from Amrat. Also thanks for linking that magic and gods revisited. It was a good read especially now when I cannot read the stuff from magewiki.

As for mages, I have personally advocated for them to be leeches of sorts. They would have the potential to mess just about everybody up in their quest of personal power and knowledge. Meaning, if some group draws power from something, mages would affect that somehow. Be it groundstatus, a heartstone, sacred place, whatever. In addition to being able to cause general havoc(like they sometimes now do, which is nice)with their spells, unintentionally or otherwise.

As for their place in the world...well...I cannot vouch for others but Delia atleast has an end game ;)

Also when speaking of mages you have to remember that they are not a guild in a regular sense. They really are just a loosely affiliated group of people instead of some structured organization. One mage could be a fervent Sathonys follower and the other the most pious Taniel/Evren follower and they would both be mages in the mage guild even if they actively worked against each other, backing opposing forces in the struggles around Forostar.
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Aslak » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:09 pm

Delia wrote:Also when speaking of mages you have to remember that they are not a guild in a regular sense. They really are just a loosely affiliated group of people instead of some structured organization. One mage could be a fervent Sathonys follower and the other the most pious Taniel/Evren follower and they would both be mages in the mage guild even if they actively worked against each other, backing opposing forces in the struggles around Forostar.


Well, as far as I understand, the mages take great care such a situation does not occur and that they only accept "credible" members of good or at best neutral alignment.

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby luminier » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:59 pm

Aslak, what do you think about what Amrat said? How certain guilds just have certain powers to be able to create an environment to roleplay in?


A lot has been said recently about how the Asralites have no allies and thats why they need to be so powerful on their own. Their guild has been changed in quite a number of ways in the past months, armours, miracles, guards, more power in Arborea, you name it, they got it.

Perhaps they were "written" the old way on purpose. Maybe it was to prevent being passive and all alone and force some interaction with people who could help them. Alchemists for example could cure their diseases, now they can do that on their own for example. What do you think? Mazar feel free to chime in as well.
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Delia » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:42 pm

Well, as far as I understand, the mages take great care such a situation does not occur and that they only accept "credible" members of good or at best neutral alignment.


Generally speaking the scribes do, yes. Truthfully speaking the mages would not mind. Of course there are personal opinions and such.

It is more about how the world is, how an openly evil/chaotic character does not have access to most MUD features. Even if Arborea does its land of the free, we hug y'all thing, practicing Lilithians and Sathonites will not be openly tolerated. Atleast in the scribes. As an Arborean guild they follow Arborean laws and expect as much from their members. EDIT:

Of course this is hugely influenced by who the characters in power are. Hey people, go and join the scribes and change things! Also, I would like to see mages distanced from the scribes as much as possible. Atleast from positions of power. Unless a group of mages holing inside Arborea is a good and positive thing?

Personally I would like to see scribes and such in every city, moving the game away from such things as which guilds your character can join and where and somehow balance things with those choices. Instead I would like to see more focus on what kind of cities, communities and culture each area would develop.
Last edited by Delia on Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:08 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Delia » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:53 pm

Sometimes I dream that the MUD timeline could be bravely advanced. With this current setup I could see the time of the humies.

Elvandar would become smoking ruins and the queen could become a banshee or whatever.

Taniel worship would become a secret cult.

Arborea would expand its domain and wage war against just about anything with the primary focus being Arborea vs. Asador.

Elves would live scattered around more akin to the woodelves or integrating as second grade citizens wherever they can. Human noble would hunt wild elf for sport. Half-elves would primarily results from impregnated elven concubines.

Things like that.
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby luminier » Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:54 am

I'd be interested for the Crusaders having no base of operations. The old castle being overrun with undead like Eal-Deliah.

Seems sort of in line with what you envisioned Delia.

I too would like though if other cities had guilds instead of Arborea having all of them. Elvandar only has the dwarf custom item guy... who I still think should be in the UNDERGROUND not in the Elf city. And Alchemists used to be in Elvandar... now it's in Arborean land... same with bookbinders... scribes... trapper... tanner... woodworkers(closest place to bring wood from the Glade where carts are rented)... skalds... all arborea.

I didn't realize until now how many there actually are in Arborea, thats nuts.

Elvandar doing have a training school which is nice! But I don't know how you would get the money to train there if you didn't get a job in Arborea first hehehe
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Delia » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:24 am

Everybody is an Arborean :D

Humans have won.

Edit: In this context Sathonites and Lilithians start to look like brave freedom fighters going against insurmountable odds.
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Aslak » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:50 am

I think you simply cannot move any guild (exclusivly) towards Elvandar lands. It would instantly turn that guild into a "good" aligned guild, which is not supposed to happen for craft/secondary guilds.
Though I would not mind spreading outposts of the craftguilds to various cities and towns.

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Delia » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:15 am

Outposts for Arborean craft guilds...so it begins :D

Geas: The Encroachment

Seriously though, all major cities should have their own basic craft guilds for normal stuff. Why it is not so I cannot fathom. It is not like going making parchment and stuff is some hot spot for social activity. I never meet people while doing that stuff.
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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Nathan » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:33 am

Good posting!

I personally miss Ewelyn and I always thought that the po was playing a very excellent Taniel Cleric (not only because she was constanty creating friction) - and - let me add this, the char had in my eyes always the power to be taken seriously, at least from my perspective. Luminier was played as some kind of Ewelyns "executioner", and this duo was imo quite impressive. Also, the option to lock someone out of a citiy for a @year makes you learn to take anyone quite seriously *G*.

Considering the Asrals and their role in the game - first I feel the need to correct something, according to my knowledge the Asrals were not thrown out of town for their inactivity, they were thrown out of town because it was planned to move them out of town before the mud even went alpha (or for nor real ingame reason if you prefer to see it this way) - but this also does not really matter:) - I like the ingame history there.

But back then, the Asrals had a clear purpose, they were the protectors of town.

From this very moment on I have the feeling that the Asrals were nerfed into several roles, one after the other, until they finally ended up as an unimportant neutral group of a neutral god with no purpose at all. And I do disagree with the above in another point, the most boring and also demanding roleplay I personally can imagine/and I personally had to try is not to play a good goodie, it is playing a character in a guild that has no purpose, no goals, and no interests at all - it is literally impossible in some way because all you can do is "nothing". And thats what Mazar, Bristol and me tried to change a little a while ago.

As a "good" guy, your setting is from my perspective very simple, be good, destroy evil. You can start right now. Playing a bad guy is also relatively(!) simple considering the game setting, be evil, destroy good - with one huge difference - as a bad guy player you imo must be able to suffer or to ignore a (sometimes) huge amount of unfairness from the players, because literally everything you do - because it is your job - seems to lead into a shitstorm about you, your char, your guild, your family and the country you live in - or even worse, you are ignored. The only role that seems to be suitable and accepted seems to be "play an evil guy and die often", thats fun for everyone :) In this context, big thanks to all evil guy players, i am not sure whether I could do such a (imo very good) job for the game.

As an Asral player, you got one huge problem - there is no space for neutrality in this game.

Back two/three years ago, the asrals were defined as some kind of mercenaries, the first request for assistance had to be granted and a war will be started against the other side. The problem is, that this model was faulty by design - because nobody allies with people you cannot trust, and nobody allies with people that were your enemies just 2 weeks ago. You grant your assistance one time to the sathos and your entire guild will be outlawed for the next 500 years in Elvandar- which is in my eyes as logical as it is normal. As a consequence of this setting, you do absolutely nothing anymore.

What Mazar, Bristol and me have been trying the last years was, to give the Asrals a purpose again, to give them interests and a clearly defined position, NOT Good, NOT evil, but FOR SURE NOT NEUTRAL :) And from my perspective, this went very well, and playing an Asral cleric is way more enjoyable to play than it was before.
Last edited by Nathan on Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:04 am, edited 11 times in total.

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Nathan » Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:31 am

One Amendment - I think that what the game needs most are metagoals, large, hard to archive longterm goals to work on. Goals set up by the players, goals set up by the wizards, whatever, and everyone who supports it can work on it, who opposes it can try to prevent it. It wouldnt really matter which goal it is, as long as there is (at least) one. Just playing the staus quo, like we oftenly do, is like repeating the same story again and again and again each day - so why shouldnt the players agree on a goal for the next 12 months and play for it? Maybe like the Asrals did in Arborea?

Suggestions (just silly quickshots):
- The Takeover of Elvandar by <someone>
- The Takeover of Arborea by <someone else>
- Founding a new outpost somewhere
- It could be literally everything
- your ideas here

The important thing is in my eyes only, that the goal is commonly known to everyone - no silent plot - and then, lets play:) We could collect ideas and then vote for the most popular one? Opinions?

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Re: On the balance between guilds and characters

Postby Aslak » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:58 am

I would really like this kind of meta goal.
I actually had hoped that the beginning invasion of the greenskins would pose one, but after the first flagbearers spoke to us, the whole situation stalled and became a routine cleanup of greenskins where I do not even have to take more then 3 steps out of my doorstep ^^


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