XP gain


  • Coder

    @Ganymede said:

    @Misadventure said:

    Since the concern is that heavily active characters will outpace less active characters in a significant way, what is a reasonable XP earning rate for someone who logs in and plays actively often, say 4-5 days a week?

    In a perfect world, they would accumulate exactly the same as someone who logs in twice a week to run scenes for others and engage in some light, enjoyable RP.

    A game has to decide why PCs ought to gain XP. Is it a reward to the player, or a measure of character development? If the former, what is the appropriate reward for a player, and how should it be measured? If the latter, why would a PC gain more or less XP based on how often the player logs in to direct the PC's activity?

    I have favored flat-rate XP growth for the latter reason. It is reasonable to presume that a PC is doing what it is it does while the player isn't connected and directing it. If so, then everyone should progress equally, regardless of player activity. The Reach's innovation is permitting a discount to raise a stat has been RPed about (also known as "justification").

    I have proposed several systems that I have felt justifiable, reasonable, and flexible. I favor a system that permits a player to "unlock a PC's potential" over time. That potential, however, is fixed. This would essentially be an XP cap that may be expanded as the game matures.

    I know there was a WORA thread with this, but I think there's enough interest in this sort of conversation to beat the dead horse here too!

    I tend to prefer a soft cap, flat-rate, diminishing XP system with a small CG bonus to start out as a bit more than a complete newbie. I don't like justification discounts or activity/participation bonuses, as I feel those skew the system. @Cobaltasaurus would probably place me in the XP miser category, though I don't think allowing room for a moving cap is a bad idea.

    It has an inherent catch-up system in the diminishing XP gain, it allows for setting a desired power level for the game and more easily sticking to it and I think it makes XP a background consideration. You know how much you have and how much you will get over any given period of time. There's no putting in 20 recommendations a week for XP padding, or hits for the type of RP you get involved in (PrP bonus XP vs Social, etc) and finally no justifications discounts to squeak out the most efficiency from your purchase compared to people that don't wish to go through that whole process. You can still require justifications if you believe it's necessary, but just no mechanical benefits for it.

    Finally, you can shift the power level of the game at your choosing, sliding the XP gain scale down the curve and move the whole game forward in that way.


  • Politics

    @Glitch

    I propose a "potential" system, which reverses what we mostly use. Whereas one earns and spends XP gained, I propose that each advancement adds to the XP of a PC, which is capped at a certain number. Further, a player can boost their PC's stats out of chargen immediately up to the cap. This allows players to create the PCs they want, for the most part, within a certain "potential" for growth.

    Example: Suppose the cap is 200 XP. Player A can create a PC and add up to 200 XP of stats if they want to; however, that PC can no longer advance any stat. Meanwhile, Player B can create a PC and add only 35 XP of stats to round her out. Here, A and B get what they want coming out of chargen.

    The system should include two features: (1) minimal justification discounts; and (2) timed spends. For a nWoD game, I would propose that a properly-justified spend be discounted by 10 percent of their total cost. The impact of this is balanced out by the fact that PCs can only advance their stats over time. For the same variety of game, I would propose a delay of 1 day per dot of the advanced stat.

    Example: Using the example above, and presuming we are on an nWoD GMC game, Player B wants to raise her PC's Strength from 2 to 3. This normally costs 4 XP. If justified, the PC would add 3.6 XP to their total, and would have to wait 3 days from the date of the request until completion.

    If the cap is later moved, then older PCs that have met the cap may now advance further. Newer PCs may start at the higher cap, but obviously cannot take advantage of any justification discounts. Still, the disparity between new and old PCs should be small.

    The system meets many objections:

    1. The system is neither a flat-rate or activity-based, and is essentially static.
    2. New PCs are not at a substantial disadvantage, but can still compete with older PCs.
    3. Advanced PCs enjoy an initial statistical advantage over novice PCs.
    4. Novice PCs enjoy a long-run advantage over advanced PCs.
    5. Losing a PC doesn't hurt as much, and there's no XP rollover issues.

  • Coder

    @Ganymede

    I see the discount and time reduction as an incentive to do a more natural growth to your PC; 200 capped XP essentially netting you an additional 20xp for playing the long game. If I were to go this route, I'd remove the justification entirely, and just give that discount to those that choose to spend their XP post-CG and on the timed system. The exact discount and time requirement might need some adjustment to make sure the incentive is tempting enough to encourage a longer game. I also think 200xp is a lot in GMC.

    A side thought, a reverse buy-up where you can purchase something at 110% of cost to get a significant reduction in time to completion, for those montage sequences in kung-fu. Just a thought.

    How would you handle a power level shift in the game? Just raise the maximum cap people can spend to? Allow for immediate usage by those already on game who miss the opportunity to spend it in CG?


  • Politics

    @Glitch

    That's a very good idea; provide a discount for time-based gains. I would adopt that amendment, and do away with justifications entirely.

    The 200 XP amount was an arbitrary figure. It is a lot for GMC. I'm not suggesting using that figure.

    I would not adopt the reverse buy-up option, since I would adopt the amendment above.

    In the event of a cap raise, players can spend up to that level immediately or decide that they want to use the time-gain, which provides the 10 percent discount. It's up to them. Those who decided to climb the ladder slowly from the beginning maintain that slight advantage, and those PCs that existed before the cap raise could have an advantage over those created after the raise.


  • Pitcrew

    New PCs are not at a substantial disadvantage, but can still compete with older PCs.

    Do you have any concerns about abuses? For example:

    1. I make multiple novice alts so that if I lose a position, or a character, I can step into a similar position in a new window that has baked in the oven long enough to reach the soft cap? Once a group leader, always a group leader.
    2. I defeated Kenny by killing him. But he shows-up an hour later as Kelly wearing the same orange hooded down-filled jacket because he picked Advanced just to get back in the moment?

  • Coder

    Honestly, I'd never decide on an advancement system out of concern for abuse. I recognize it's a possibility, but would rather deal with it on a case-by-case basis or after proven, consistent abuse than as a preemptive action. I generally go with the idea of: Design for the play you want to promote. I made mistakes with my last XP system and I certainly think there's room for improving on any design, but that's usually the philosophy I end up with when I think about these sorts of things.


  • Pitcrew

    From a player point of view: "New PCs are not at a substantial disadvantage," pretty much says, "You cannot advance your PC." If an old, experienced PC has no substantial advantage over a brand new one, how has that old PC advanced?

    Being able to advance a PC is part of the fun.

    As a player, I've found that a lot of policies designed to reduce 'stat inflation' are simply making my XP meaningless. You can only spend so many XP per week? I don't spend for a while, 'cause I've got other things on my mind, and then find I've got a hoard of XP that I can't possibly spend. I've had the experience of having to get staff approval for XP spends and finding that my staffer refuses to approve any of my spends (and indeed, responded to all my requests in that area by telling me that he would never have approved my character) though this was staff misbehaving, I think.

    I find it much, much less annoying to earn XP very very very slowly yet be able to spend it freely. Then the XP is scarce, yes, but it's mine, and I don't feel conned.


  • Politics

    @il-volpe said:

    I find it much, much less annoying to earn XP very very very slowly yet be able to spend it freely. Then the XP is scarce, yes, but it's mine, and I don't feel conned.

    I think the secret is perhaps to find a balance between earning experience at a decent rate and making sure that it means something.

    On a tangent, of sorts, perhaps, I played on a comic book MU for a long while and it had traits-based sheets (that is to say, we described the powers, abilities, and other traits of the characters, but there were no dice; it was all pretty consent based and what not) and experience was never a concern. It was a wonder to me, for a while, but then I realized I had played on similar games before where experience was just not that big a deal because character advancement was something different. It helps that in the comic book MU you could request changes to your sheet and were often told to have a plot run, if staff approved of the changes you wanted done.

    I'm not saying experience isn't important in WoD games. It is. I'm just musing on how there are entirely different types of games out there wherein this isn't that big a deal. Heh.


  • Politics

    @ Bennie

    What Glitch said, although direct blocks can be employed:

    1. Don't allow many alts.

    2. Even a minimal-requirement approval system obstructs the ability of a player to generate a PC to take revenge in 24 hours. Were this to happen, I would probably @boot the player for abusing the system. Abuse is a good reason to evict a player.

    @il-volpe said:

    Being able to advance a PC is part of the fun.

    No, being able to advance a PC is part of your fun. I prefer being able to make the PC that I want to play. Regardless, whether I do this over time or immediately out of the gate is immaterial to my enjoyment of the game.

    As a player, I've found that a lot of policies designed to reduce 'stat inflation' are simply making my XP meaningless.

    Nothing renders XP more meaningless than having it doled out so freely that everyone can, across the board, destroy any reasonable opposition. In my opinion, The Reach makes XP gain meaningless because there's so damned much of it.

    I find it much, much less annoying to earn XP very very very slowly yet be able to spend it freely. Then the XP is scarce, yes, but it's mine, and I don't feel conned.

    That's fine. That's your preference. It's not everyone's preference.

    If The Reach has shown anything, it is that an alternative XP system can be employed to great success. Remember that The Reach opened when Haunted Memories and St. Petersburg were operational; those games used an activity-based XP system.



  • @Ganymede I love TR. Yeah I said it...

    The beauty of the XP system is that for me I can play a badass Mage, a killer Hunter, a ninja werewolf or insert any combo of things here with a butt load of XP. The best part of this, for someone with a busy life we all end up at the same cap at some point.

    I don't have to worry about scheduling in times to meet with PCs to make sure I get my weekly number of votes, I don't have to worry that if my timezone keeps me out of regular RP that when I jump into events with other players I'll be so behind on XP I'll be a hinderance to the group.

    I can play as much or as little as I want and "tada" I get XP every week and my PC grows. I think the issue people have with PCs having that much XP is crazy. EVERYONE IS/OR WILL BE AT THE SAME XP LEVEL at some point. If you die, you get your XP. If you are tired of your PC and you want to make a new one, you get your XP. If you want to play LOW XP you make a new PC or you shed half your XP or you don't spend XP. This gives you the choice to do ANYTHING. So where's the beef?


  • Pitcrew

    Good heavens, @Ganymede, I thought it was pretty much a given that when I post my opinions they're my opinions, so, yeah, if I say something is part of the fun, I mean it's part of my fun. I'm saying what I like, as a player, not demanding you, or anyone, conform to it.

    I can certainly see why one might want to simply play the character you want to play, and not have character advancement at all. Not ideal from my POV, but for the right game I wouldn't complain.

    Nothing renders XP more meaningless than having it doled out so freely that everyone can, across the board, destroy any reasonable opposition. In my opinion, The Reach makes XP gain meaningless because there's so damned much of it.

    Yes. Really, as a general rule, MUSHes give out too much XP, and characters advance too fast. Even when XP spends are limited.

    That's fine. That's your preference. It's not everyone's preference.

    Is it actually anyone's preference to be awarded tonnes of XP but find that somehow rules have been set up that prevent them from spending it?


  • Coder

    @il-volpe said:

    Is it actually anyone's preference to be awarded tonnes of XP but find that somehow rules have been set up that prevent them from spending it?

    This is how things were set up on Haunted Memories. Maybe not on purpose, but toward the end this is essentially how it went. I had over 200 unspent xp, so we are reaching an upper limit of calling this "essentially infinite short- and medium-term potential"

    HM had a cooldown time that was far more meaningful than its XP system, as it was not effected by the number of XP you had. It was a system set up to prevent me from spending the XP, even though it was loose enough that it was a limiter per stat, and not en toto.

    I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it quite a bit. So, hyperbole and ultimates aside, yes, some of us do. I've been upvoting the crap out of Gany and Glitch to signal so.


  • Pitcrew

    See, that would just make me say, "Why the fuck are you giving me all this XP that I can't spend?" and I'd be vaguely frustrated, though I wouldn't care enough to complain with any emphasis. Good games are good regardless of this seemingly widespread custom.

    I'd much prefer few XP. Though people do get a lot of pleasure from meaningless points, like votes, so accumulating those as a separate thing seems worthy.


  • Politics

    @ThatOneDude said:

    So where's the beef?

    As a PC who does enjoy to run scenes, I abhor doing so for badass Mages, killer Hunters, ninja Werewolves, or the combo of things that I've found a-plenty-of on The Reach. I'd much rather play on a different game, and you might not.



  • @Ganymede Right, and that's the beauty of the internet and the choices out there, correct?


  • Politics

    @ThatOneDude Well, exactly. The difference is that The Reach exists, and a game with my proposed system does not. That may change.


  • Tutorialist

    @Glitch

    If I were to call someone an XP miser and not mean it in gentle teasing-- it would be for places where there is no flat-rate XP at all. Places where the attitude is "you don't go out and get +Votes, you don't get xp".


  • Pitcrew

    @ThatOneDude said:

    @Ganymede Right, and that's the beauty of the internet and the choices out there, correct?

    Hardly. The MUSH world is pretty small. This is why we have people on other parts of the board asking, "Is there any non-WoD game to recommend?" and such. It can be right hard to find a game that suits you. The internet is huge when it comes to choices for porn and you can meet just about any fetish you want, but when it comes to finding a MUSH, no.

    My experience, if I am going to have success (that is, I play a while and it's fun) on a game, it needs to meet certain desires.

    Probably for everyone there's

    #1: RP is happening at times when I can and want to play.

    This is followed by a load of other stuff, which people value at varying degrees. Do I understand the game world? Do I connect with it? Do they allow the type of character I want to play? Is it consent, dice, a hybrid thereof? If there's a dice system, is it one I like? Do people I know I like to RP with play there, or want to play if I do? Does somebody I can't stand staff there or otherwise have a lot of power over how things go? Does it feel welcoming?

    Everybody probably has their own list of preferences, with elements that range in importance from 'that's a deal-breaker, won't play there' to 'not what I'd like best, but I don't mind.'

    You can't expect to find your perfect game. I (and probably many others) can't even expect to build it. If I had the code skill to make the game with all the features, functions, policies, game-world etc. that are just exactly what I think is the very bestest a MUSH could have, it probably wouldn't meet the desires of other people enough to attract enough of a player-base to meet that #1 condition of RP being available.

    We end up talking about all sorts of MUSH design elements, looking for the variant that falls between 'great!' and 'I don't mind' for the greatest number of players who fit the vague profile of players we'd like to attract.



  • Really, as a general rule, MUSHes give out too much XP, and characters advance too fast.

    The first is more or less a function of the 24/7 availability of a game, combined with how many games want to reward activity. I mean, if you used the suggested XP per game and then ran your tabletop game 7 days a week, XP would inflate pretty far pretty fast as well.

    The second you just have to sort of suck up and deal with, but has its roots in similar issues. In a TT game the ST can sit you down at the table and say "Okay, it's been six months since you X'd the Y of Z's plans to A the B, and you've all kept in touch." or whatever else describes lends to a sense of the passage of time and gives the advancement of abilities a sense of scope.

    I don't really know that much can be done about either. People do like to see their characters advance, and at more than a snail's pace, and there's no denying that XP for activity/participation serves to motivate people to participate more. As with anything, that can be taken to an unhealthy extreme, but it's true enough even for people who aren't trying to abuse the +vote/PRP system for xp.


  • Coder

    @HelloRaptor said:

    no denying that XP for activity/participation serves to motivate people to participate more.

    Is it really that? Or does it just change the type of participation that takes place? Might you instead be having a smaller, more intimate RP experience if you didn't have to go out and rally up +votes? TR is a hybrid game, but despite the recommendation mechanic, arguably the easiest way to proactively gain XP, it was never used excessively outside of a few people.

    Also, do people want to advance at more than a snail's pace or do they want to play the character they envision? Or close to that vision? There will always be people that are very focused on their PC growth trajectory, but I don't know that I'd say everyone is chomping at the bit for a brisk XP pace either. I definitely admit it's probably a hard transition after spending a lot of time on TR, though.


  • Politics

    @HelloRaptor, I had a brief interchange with someone recently where I said that wait times on MUs can't be as long as those that might be given in the source books because while during tabletop you can time skip, on a MU, you can't. They told me they run their tabletops scene-to-scene with hardly any time skips of more than a day or two and they still use the longest terms.

    The difference, to me, is that that's a small group, and only ONE group. It doesn't express the desires of an entire hobby on a separate medium.

    I love wait times. I just don't think they should be that long.


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