Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

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Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#1 Post by louis » Fri Jan 29, 2021 5:55 pm

Hello roleplayers,
I think it's time to open a thread on this topic, let's finally discuss reasons why to delete disguises
in the epic breadth that is apparently required.

Now is your chance. And this here is your thread! Provide us with all the arguments you have,
so that we finally gather a huge variety of really resilient reasons to erase rogue disguise from
the game once and for all.

Please don't argue with vague generalizations such as accountability. Bring it to the point pleaase!
Speak openly! We would need clear, unmistakable and understandable arguments or examples that
clearly show that it is essential/unavoidable/you name it to delete the disguises from the game.

Of course, we also accept arguments not to delete disguises but to keep them:)

Have fun!


[Note: This is not a promise that the disguises will be deleted afterwards - but I promise that I will
put forward all valid arguments of the game administration, which, as always, has the final decision.
I will not present generalizations to the game admin.]

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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#2 Post by ferranifer » Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:44 pm

Accountability is in fact the main reason. I feel I've done this many times before but I'll break it down again:
  • CONTRA: Disguise allows players to avoid the coded social behavior control mechanisms. Mechanisms that exist to keep people in check. E.g. I have to behave or I will get fined/banished/outlawed. It is a good thing that people have to think twice about behaving. This extends from theft, to extortion, to murder. This truly is the number 1 and most important issue with disguise.
  • CONTRA: Disguise feels incredibly unfair. No other guild, including the supposed to be murderous fanatics, are afforded the level or protection that disguise does. Why is rogue's role in the game such an important part of the game that it requires complete impunity to exist?
  • PRO: Disguise allows people that would otherwise be ostracized criminals to interact socially in soft-RP scenes. This is good and is perhaps an affordance that many other types of characters should be given as well. E.g. darkelves.
  • CONTRA: Judgement on how much someone is allowed to guess is never, ever going to be a pretty OOC discussion. This is an extremely subjective matter as we've seen time and time again in the 21 years of history of the game. Instead of creating convoluted rulesets - that hurt the game's setting, remove player's agency and don't solve the issue anyways - we should change the design of disguise to not require OOC judgement at all. (E.g. disguise always shows as such when looked at).
  • CONTRA: The existence of the mechanic allows rogues incredible affordance because they could come back at you in disguise and you would not be able to do anything about it. This creates a toxic gameplay environment where it is very difficult to build trust. And betrayal of trust is in fact the words possible thing you can do to a player in this game. E.g. I cannot engage with rogue X because if I do, I'll get ambushed and killed tomorrow with absolutely no way to respond to it legally. This kills a lot of possible venues for cooperation, ala D&D scoundrel/party lockpick because the same guy could be backstabbing you tomorrow.
  • CONTRA: (This is very much my personal view on this) Disguise kills the fun of taking risks as a burglar/thief. It is very, very safe to steal stuff as an unrecognizable nobody. And incredibly boring. This is more of an idealistic CONTRA though, because before rogues can go around being open thieves something needs to change with the player's attitude toward theft (and with the behavior of those that steal from players). Mind you that I do not include murder, extortion or blackmail on this. Those should always be conducted without a disguise and are inherently fun (but deserve no protection, just like with the entire the rest of the game). E.g. In another game, it was incredibly exciting to break into the Knights Castle and steal the Stormbringer. Open faced. Getting caught would make me an enemy of the Knights, but it wouldn't end my career as a burglar. In fact, I ended up working for them. Skin in the game, as the Arborean Law puts it.

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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#3 Post by Ioca » Fri Jan 29, 2021 7:05 pm

Reasons to keep disguises:

* It's fun to RP with people using them! When people play along, it's pretty great. I used to put huge, huge amounts of effort into my disguises. I'd make up whole new personas to roleplay as, and would use different weapons and armour or clothing than normal. At one point, I got to RP collaborating with one or two other people to help me work out the tiny intricate details of 'being someone else,' and that was great. I also liked disguising and convincing new adventurers + uncertain people to tag along as I 'made gold,' and helped a few newbies get a bit wealthier and introduced them to the world of low-level crime as a possible career path.

* It makes sense that you'd want to disguise before committing low-level offenses like stealing from the massive invisible crowds in the cities, or from the shop vendors, etc. Despite what some people with an agenda would say, there is quite a lot of risk in it - successful rogues generally put in a year or more worth of effort to be able to do the things they do, and ones who didn't put in the effort tend not to be successful.

Reasons to not keep disguises:

* People rarely play along. Off the top of my head, I can only think of a very small group of not-newbies who let me put all that effort to use. Most people tend to "appraise" you the moment you enter the markets, and then they roleplay being immediately suspicious, since altough disguised stats when appraised can be random, they still can't be completely hidden. Others roleplayed 'knowing everyone' or that the world had fewer people in it that it does, and wouldn't even be open to the option that this unknown person is actually someone new and different - I literally didn't get the chance to even _try_ to roleplay with most people due to this. Rather than a complaint, this is a legitimate reason not to keep disguises in the game - if people won't roleplay them, why have 'em?

* They could be abused! The same as how many other mechanics in the game could be abused, like outlawry, condemnation, fire, acid, etc. There is a distinct chance that a rogue would grind for 3k hours to get the disguise skill up to 45 and possibly steal someone's artifact or something, I guess? I've no idea why since it's easier and takes much less effort and has equally as much risk to just go fetch it without a disguise, but it seems to be a concern some people have.


Otherwise, I don't think disguises work the way some people think they work, or even the way some people who _know_ how they work characterize them as working! It's a pretty tremendous effort to maintain the ability to disguise, and having gotten some ridiculous amount of skills to 90-100 on my character, I'd say for pretty certain that disguise is one of the hardest skills in the game to improve (and as a mage, yep, even magic skills are way, way, way easier!).

From what I've read though, I think that the people who dislike disguises _really_ are just trying to say that they hate the idea of thievery, or that they hate the idea of a guild having skills that they can't learn. I think both of those are misconceptions or in some cases blatant mischaracterizations from people who know better, too. Most thievery is done by non-rogue thieves! Pretty much all inn-room break-ins are done by non-rogue thieves as well - and the rogues actually tend to protect peoples' inn rooms and punish those outsiders so as to stay under the radar and -avoid- all the hatred. I'm pretty sure people outside of the guild can learn the disguise skill, though, and maybe even use it - but it's not being "in the guild" that makes it actually usable. It's that you need to maintain some pretty harsh mechanics, you _need_ to rob stores and work with other rogues to do particular missions, in order to earn 'thief reputation' that allows you to spend large sums of gold to use the skill. It's that you need to actively "roleplay being a rogue" in order to actually put the skill to use, and that's likely the gripe about it being gated, as far as I can tell.

As a final comment, I'd also add a bit about accountability, since it's on the tip of some of peoples' tongues almost always. A misconception is that disguised rogues can't be held accountable - but people seem to forget that you could, of course, simply kill the rogue, assuming she didn't have mythical stats and wasn't an Overlady. Disguises aren't the problem there!

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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#4 Post by Laewyloth » Fri Jan 29, 2021 7:53 pm

I am, despite not being a rogue, having no understanding of how rogues work -beyond- the fact that disguises can fail (i.e. you can see through the disguise sometimes), 100% in favor of keeping disguises in game, and forcing people to accept that disguises exist, as a -rule-.

Reasons for keeping Disguise in game (with concrete, in-game events as per the OP's request):
  • Lae has witnessed a 'failed disguise' and had an amazing bit of fun RP around it. The rogue in question did not know (and has no way of knowing, I -believe-) that I was able to see through it, and we RP'd accordingly. With Lae moving closer to investigate, tease, and essentially 'call them out' as someone who "looks and smells -really- familiar."
  • I've seen instances of behavior others (particularly older players it seems) associate with rogues, instead performed by non-rogue players - negating the fact that 'disguised rogues are running around doing X thing'. X, in this case being: Breaking into Inn Rooms (I have seen this -twice- performed by non-rogue characters, they were not disguised), Backstabbing NPCs (This skill -is- 100% learnable via just witnessing it, and so I can only assume, that the very-much-non-rogue PC who did this, -learned it- from someone else), raiding/attacking kingdoms (cough, cough, Ila), 'and more'. The fact that -everyone- can indulge in these things, and often -do-, means that 'having disguise isn't a pre-requisite for the behavior that upsets people'. ***More on this one below
  • Disguises do NOT seem to afford any mechanical bonuses. Meaning, IF you could normally kill, arrest, hurt the undisguised individual, you could still do so -to- the disguised individual. The only boon to the disguise itself is forcing you to -think- through whether or not that really -is- the same person you think it is. And with the new guidance (hesitant to call it a ruling I guess) around Forostar's population, you *should* have to think long and hard. That is part of the fun.
  • There have been no (again, I challenge anyone to provide proof otherwise) instances of disguised characters stealing, breaking into innrooms, or murdering people en-masse over the past year. If there -was-, why weren't there player notes about it? Why weren't there wanted posters about it? How come there weren't 'rules' about it introduced in the kingdoms (i.e. the usage of a disguise or mask is punishable by fines up to X coins) as a form of RP? I'm under the impression that any such instances are 1/wildly misjudged to be occurring, or 2/are leftovers from a more-populated era of Geas.
On my *** point above, looking at the arguments for/against in the other thread, as well as those published here so far, I'm curious why we're not more focused on preventing the *activities* that upset people or ruin the game for others, and instead focused on whether or not those *activities* can be attributed to someone or not. Does someone being disguised, stealing from you, and then running off intrinsically -stop- you from addressing the act of stealing? No. You could write a note about the appearance of that person, you could start a witch-hunt, you could increase the penalties for stealing, you could 'rally the troops' and stand outside known rogue hangouts (assuming you want to believe the non-introduced individual was a rogue) looking rather specifically for -that- person.

What I am seeing, and this is -not- a personal attack, though it's sure to feel like it for some: Is that you're being lazy. Disguises force the victim to RP -being- a victim, and forces them to figure out how to deal with that (again, do you raise the alarm? Do you go on a personal vendetta? Do you RP looking for clues?).

A lack of disguise just 'lets you automatically react' and utilize -other- methods of retribution (i.e. you can outlaw that person, you can find their inn-room, break in and murder 'em, etc. -- evidenced ICly by what happened after the Elvandar raid). Moreover, it 'allows' you, even without equal dedication to your character's mechanical skills, to 'beat' a mechanically superior player. To sort of echo Aisa's final point above: Is it really fair, that -if- you get into a conflict with someone mechanically superior, that instead of -losing-, you can -win- by virtue of using non-mechanical superiority (i.e. instead of being forced to fight a mythical str/dex fighter, you can just outlaw them instead)?

I don't feel that's super fair. And disguises...have literally nothing to -do- with that, except for the fact they allow a rogue to -avoid- that situation (which is good). +1 in favor, again, of keeping Disguise in game, and making it a non-debatable rule that people *must* RP proper steps to discover, unmask, or decrypt what is really "just an un-introduced character" (since we've stated that there are any number of looks like / appraises like npcs out there similar to any given PC).

Hell, go one step further and make disguise randomize str/dex/con in 'appraise enemy'. What would the argument be then? How could you tell a disguised PC from a random, un-introduced PC or NPC?

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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#5 Post by Delmon » Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:30 pm

For disguise:
1) The main point FOR disguise is additional RP opportunities. These are engaging dialogue and stories surrounding characters that are disguised.
2) Second point FOR disguises is it allow characters to enter cities and steal as rogues successfully. Stealing against NPCs and shops etc is a part of the rogue experience, and disguises allow characters to do this. Cities dont let outlaws in unless they are disguised, or characters kill the guards (you could change this, that's one option, but then you loose point 1). The argument against this is that rogues should/must/have to abide by the rules of the law of the city and not piss off the judge or whoever can outlaw (this rp interaction IC is perfectly fine IMO - it is normal for judges to have their own agenda/opinion and rogues to have theirs). As we have seen this past year, this is a situation that can get really sticky and ugly quickly OOC.
CONTRA: Disguise allows players to avoid the coded social behavior control mechanisms. Mechanisms that exist to keep people in check. E.g. I have to behave or I will get fined/banished/outlawed. It is a good thing that people have to think twice about behaving. This extends from theft, to extortion, to murder. This truly is the number 1 and most important issue with disguise.
How do you address this very valid point? Make the guild hall a non-secret, central location AND, as Ferranifer suggested, make it so anyone can tell if anyone is disguised. Every PC will know the disguise is a rogue mechanism. This means when a rogue disguises and does a crazy thing in the city, it is the rogues acting as a collective guild. The disguise mechanism will still allow rogues to enter cities to do rogue things as they want, however it will immediately signal to PCs IF they are attacked it will be the guild attacking the PC character, and judgement can be swift against the guild. Sure, you want to come back at the city later and cause havoc? City declares war on rogues and can raid guild hall or kill rogues on sight or other creative measures. I would like to have rogues, just more open rogues. Example, a rogue could disguise and assassinate, but the killed would know it was the rogues, and collectively deal with them appropriately IC, building additional IC productive conflicts IMO. A counter to everyone knowing that someone is disguised is that it will dilute the RP (why should my character know if its a good disguise?). I disagree, as your character will KNOW it is a disguised rogue, but you will know which one or exactly the purpose of the disguised individual. With this mechanism, there's no OOC value to saying "AHA! its a disguised rogue". You could play along and pretend your character cant tell its a disguise, or not. Lots of RP options.

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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#6 Post by Arsicas » Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:54 pm

I feel like, for all the complaints people have about people using disguise to grief people anonymously, those can be addressed with a few minor fixes rather than taking out disguises completely.
(E.g. disguise always shows as such when looked at).
I think I would be fine with, rather than it always showing, having it show based on a character’s awareness and a rogue’s disguise skill/layers of disguise they are using. I believe that is how it works currently, but it seems that maybe the numbers need to be tweaked a bit. Someone with 100 awareness should have a pretty good chance of at least seeing “It appears as though this person is disguised” *when they look directly at them*, so long as the rogue doesn’t have incredible (60 or 80+) disguise skill. I would much prefer seeing this message than having the random chance of just “recognizing” the person, i.e., seeing the person’s name when they just walk by. (I do have a log when I caught a disguised character’s actual name as they were entering but the disguise as they were leaving.)

I think that being able to tell mechanically that someone is disguised would help alleviate the OOC accusations, because then your character *definitely* could tell that something was amiss and you weren’t relying on OOC knowledge. And it would mean that rogues wouldn’t have 100% impunity because there would be a higher chance of being recognized as wearing a disguise, so there is that risk involved. Sure, you could just run away if someone calls you out on it, but it would tie you back to the guild that knows how to disguise, so you couldn’t just claim it was some random elf. Again, this is if someone actually looks at you and can tell that you are wearing a disguise. If you have the skills to get away with being undetected, you should be able to benefit from that skill.

Other reasons to keep disguise:

- Outlawed or “known” rogues being able to still enter cities to either commit crime or engage socially, as a rogue or alter-ego.

- As I mentioned in another thread, the intrigue of talking to someone and suddenly realizing “Oh crap, they’re disguised! A rogue! What do they want?” Also having rogue “faces” come speak to me and not being quite sure who it is—maybe even someone I know!

- Rogues need a way to do all the required stealing without tanking their reputation. Otherwise, I feel that rogues will very soon get stuck with being unable to do roguish things. In which case, what is the point of the guild?
'having disguise isn't a pre-requisite for the behavior that upsets people'
This is also true. We’ve seen it sometimes with people who get outlawed saying “Well, they can’t do anything else to me, so I might as well go all-out villain.” So those mechanisms that are meant to keep people in check don’t always keep people in check. And people can do the same things without a disguise that they do with a disguise. If there is an issue with people’s behavior while disguised, then that is the issue that needs to be addressed, not disguises themselves.
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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#7 Post by Delia » Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:20 am

Pretty good points for and against and hard to come up with something that has not been said. I do feel that some modest tweaks and even changes to the guild itself might be in order - right out deleting disguise is a bit heavy handed I think.

Coming back to the game after a long break has given me fresh eyes to look at things with. Like the mage guild which I have been pretty *cough* vocal about. I think the problems are somewhat similar, at low and mid levels things work as intended but with very high skills and very high stats power level and capabilities escalate exponentially and more or less work to break the game. If not for the player(power fantasy is nice, I know)then for other players.

I do not know how it would translate to disguise but continuing with the mage example, lowering the high end scaling and power gained and using that to add some lower tier perks to address mechanical grievances players might havehave could work? This is something rogue guild members would have to do, I will continue suggesting nerfs for the mage guild :lol:
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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#8 Post by Lauriert » Sat Jan 30, 2021 9:48 am

I think the simple solution would be to let the rogues have masks but not disguises as they are currently. The disguises as they are currently can feel too powerful in terms of hiding the identity of the person in question, and it's fairly hotly debated how easy and/or hard it should be to guess the person's identity ICly. I think taking away masks as a mechanic is definitely something I wouldn't support since it adds too much flavor and depth to the guilds that use them. Rogue disguises could definitely be toned down to masks and I think it would be a good compromise.

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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#9 Post by louis » Sat Jan 30, 2021 11:29 am

Delia wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:20 am Pretty good points for and against and hard to come up with something that has not been said. I do feel that some modest tweaks and even changes to the guild itself might be in order - right out deleting disguise is a bit heavy handed I think.
Hi, well, in fact I just think that it makes sense to canalize the disguises-suck-discussion here - you are of course welcome to offer any kind of suggestion on disguises, from "delete them" over "improve them" to "keep them".

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Re: Please finally delete the disguise mechanic RIGHT NOW, because ...

#10 Post by Brand » Sun Jan 31, 2021 11:27 am

The idea of increasing failure chance when in combat seems very sound. Allows for the RP and such that was being offered as a pro, while increasing risk of the unfettered aggression that was offered as a con.
Just wanna sit around and chat, disguise holds well.

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