Eldritch - A World of Darkness MUX
@Coin I used the generic you, when talking about it. I was not assuming you would be part of the group that resented it, I was merely addressing what you brought up.
And I did say I recognized that XP as a reward is common. These are tabletop games, so a MU translation obviously requires reworking some things. Taking it a step further than "2xp flat-rate, 4xp max, etc, etc" is just another part in the process, so I don't really find that argument as compelling. Like I said though, I know I'm in the minority there.
Differences of opinion are great, and I don't expect everyone to agree with me or like my ideas and implementations uniformally. That would be foolhardy and pretty frustrating in the end, for me especially.
I don't know if this made it into the current version of the news files, but a goal was to set a six month review of the game and make changes, even dramatic ones. Six months or a year. Once I started hitting high gear for code, I lost track of that.
@Thenomain, it's not explicit on the news files, but rest assured we'd have shaken you from your code-induced trance to tell you if we wanted to change that.
@Coin No shaking! He might stop coding.
With as long as the merits and drawbacks of various XP systems have been debated, I’m still kind of amazed that anyone believes that there is a ‘perfect’ system out there waiting to be discovered. There have been enough prevailing theories and enough iterations of different systems over time that, for me, I think it’s been fairly conclusively proven that in designing an XP system you’re really looking for a balance which, while not perfect, will not drastically impact any one particular group. HMs ‘play all the time and in giant groups if you want to get ahead’ time/+vote system really slighted people with RL commitments or, frankly, just a desire for less chaotic 2 and 3 person scenes. I’m pretty sure I recall @Ganymede, who has long advocated for games that consider the needs and inclusion of people who are only realistically going to have time to play a scene or two a week shoehorned in amongst many other RL commitments, saying as much though ultimately she both played and staffed there.
As someone with RL commitments herself and who likes not to have to start with a completely bumbling novice character, I loved The Reach’s XP system in theory, but by the same token I think the general consensus is that, several years on, it has its own flaws that make the game environment occasionally weird to navigate.
The XP system is mainly @Coin’s baby, as he’s both more interested in system design than I am and has had first-hand experience playing on Reno, a fully GMC MU*, where I haven’t. That being said, we all discussed extensively what we wanted it to be like and most of these points were considered extensively, including not wanting people to have to start off with the skillset of a high school freshman, wanting to allow for players that came along later to have a clear and non-demanding path to something roughly akin to parity with the ‘dinos’ and also not wanting to see things devolve into the realm of the utterly absurd if we got more than two years on with this. I think there’s a balance to be had there between not taking someone who can only play a little out at the knees while at the same time rewarding activity and contributions to the game since while, no, not all ‘activity’ is going to end up being a breathtaking work of well-plotted prose, at the same time, no matter how nuanced and original someone’s character is designed to be, nobody else is going to get the benefit of that until they actually go RP.
I think that, as this stands, you could make a character and not get around to playing more than two or three times a month and still do really, really well XP wise, especially at the outset. Nine months to a year on, yes, people who are very active will start to pull ahead of you, if you’re the type to view XP as an arms race, though it should still take a while before it starts to be a huge factor, and even then you’ll still be ‘ahead’ of everyone who comes after.
I think, at this juncture, I’m not that worried about it for a couple of reasons: First, if I have a concern about stats and XP at all, it’s mainly that it is really very easy to make something utterly terrifying straight out of chargen in GMC. The power levels are intrinsically high, and (just to pluck one example of many, as this is true across all the games) a straight-out-of-chargen flying Demon with murder hands and the ability to do 8-again agg damage with all firearms is potentially going to smoke anything if it wins init. And second, as I think has always been the case and always will be the case, raw statistical power on MU*s is always going to be secondary to social power. The character who is not around all that often but is thoughtfully imagined, delightful to interact with and beautifully played will be adored by many and eagerly anticipated when they do arrive, will get +recced for their efforts, will be kept in the loop on plots, will have friends and allies aplenty, and will ultimately fare far better than the comparative jerk who has a few higher stats. This, ultimately, gets complained about just as much as XP systems do, and while I think we’ve tried to mitigate both as much as possible and strike a balance, I don’t think I believe in the possibility of eliminating all these problems entirely for everyone for all time, though if anyone can prove me wrong I would be utterly delighted. I think I can speak for everyone involved when I say that we’re committed to collaboration and discussion, so bring on the constructive tweaks. This is part of the six-month thing that Theno mentioned, as the idea was we'd stop at various points and sort of query everyone involved with the project, players and staff, and say: Okay, what do we love about this and what's not working? What do we need more or less of? And while consensus is rare and this wouldn't be a straight-up majority opinion thing, I think regularly scheduled bouts of introspection would be helpful to keep things on track.
I'm not a dullard; I know you need people to do that. I do it all the time. But I will admit that I get disenfranchised when I see others outpace my PC who do little but mill about socially getting XP.
I never assumed you were.
But by the way Eldritch is designed it strikes me that they won't outpace you with XP by just doing social fluff stuff unless said social stuff is geared towards their goals. By being less active yet more focused on goals and plot/character development (as GMC sees it, anyway) you would easily keep up. If you don't, Eldritch is still giving you flat XP until you reach some 100XP. Which is a lot, which is, in fact, more than enough to 'max' out your character in at least one area. From playing on Reno and having a character with 100+ XP, I can tell you that you don't need more.
Which means the game does keep "you" in mind, but also keeps in mind that a lot of people thrive on having incentives. Should RP be its own reward? Yes, to a point, but that doesn't invalidate giving additional rewards.
You feel disenfranchised when you don't think you can catch up. That's fine and natural. Being super active, doing tons of shit, and then seeing someone who never does anything be your equal, can also lead to dissatisfaction, and that seems pretty fine and natural, too. The trick is to find a balance. I can't say if Eldritch has hit a sweet spot, but I like it a hellova lot better than The Reach's catchup mechanic. I also think it's an improvement on Reno (even if I'd like the XP gain lowered a bit).
I also don't think The Reach's catchup mechanic is what keeps limit-hours people there. I think inertia affects people with limited hours a lot more, and they're slower to really shift their attentions to anything new because they have less time to spread around and invest in the 'new'. This may be wrong, but it's how I think when work crunch is cutting my availability down. I'm a lot less likely to invest my effort until a game is 'proven' to have things going for it in those periods.
And again it's about game design goals. For instance I can see where @Ganymede is coming from and suspect her concern is legitimate if it comes to people outpacing her not because they participate in 'better' (something even harder to quantify than 'active') scenes but simply more of them. I don't want to put words in her mouth she didn't speak but yes, if someone who can simply afford to play a few hours every day can outpace people who can't, then some people would be alienated by that.
It would be a mistake in most cases to reward people with no lives to the detriment of the rest.
However caps and sanity checks of all sorts go a long way to help with that. Games like WoW have managed to keep things relatively streamlined for different players despite the fact some of them are dedicate absurd chunks of their lives to it - MU* can learn a thing or two from that. For example daily caps (how much you can gain) and delays (how much you can spend) in tandem while individually generous can do really well.
The other thing to watch out for is the distribution method. Most +vote based systems I've seen for example actively end up promoting cliques even when they are specifically made to prevent exactly that.
Still, until the system itself is fully fleshed out it's hard to comment whether it fits the design goals or not.
if someone who can simply afford to play a few hours every day can outpace people who can't, then some people would be alienated by that.
It would be a mistake in most cases to reward people with no lives to the detriment of the rest.
It's worth mention: there seem to be quite a few people who can spend plenty of time on a game daily or nearly so, and in some cases beyond a few hours, who have pretty active lives. Usually, it's somebody who can get online from work -- someone who is more a lucky bastard in some respects than they are a 'no lifer'.
I'm seeing the belief that regular presence on a game == no life recur a little more often than I think is wise to continue to foster as a universal truism.
Having a life usually involves multiple hobbies; in a few of them I've seen the you're not a real <hobbyist> if you don't... mentality, which is equally damaging.
By the same token, to take a simple example: I knit, but if I don't spend time knitting that week, my project is going to sit there not progressing, because socks don't knit themselves. Characters don't play themselves, either. So while "I can't be around all the time, and I don't want to fall too far behind" is a reasonable concern, once the idea that people who take issue with that are suggested to be 'no lifers' gets attached, it pretty ugly. It gets uglier when the suggestion that people not be able to benefit from their activity and contributions any more than someone who may be making absolutely none by eliminating any advancement benefits for activity -- because that's some pretty impressively entitled nonsense right there, and does devalue the contributions people make to the game. (It's also a recipe for a complete dino crisis, which leads to stagnation even faster.)
Balance between the two is pretty key.
While I agree with the 'play is its own reward' concept in theory, that's in theory. In practice it doesn't always work out that way. People show up to a plot you run that drive you bonkers, somebody needs the most boring PrP run ever but you have a few hours to spare and they're desperate to find somebody -- there are times the dangled reward carrot helps and is of benefit to the game in ways that, IMHO, don't compare to having someone who may log in once a month for two hours to play with the same one or two people each time not discouraged from continuing to do so. For that person, the 'play is its own reward' thinking seems to be more apt, since they're not making sacrifices of their game time (however much of it they may have compared to others) in the way those described above do.
I keep seeing this over and over: Being super active, doing tons of shit. Who's definition of shit? Who's definition of active? Are the people paired in twos with a partner with goals like "Fuck Lola again" and online every day in a private bedroom going to be the ones pulling ahead, turning in all those beats and the dramatic failures at Stamina + Socialize for being a bad lay going to be earning as much as the people who are running plots for others or being organization important?
The disenfranchisement isn't just "I won't catch up to dose guyz." The disenfranchisement is when someone's circle jerking the system for unlimited private growth with zero interaction with the wider game, pulling ahead but never being jeopardized in that process, gaining ground because of devotion to turn ins without compromising their character to achieve, only to turn around finally and stomp across everyone's table, kicking everyone's sushi every which way, impervious to everyone's bullets and claws.
@Bennie You are a fucking troll.
I am reasonably certain no one has had an aspiration to have sex on Reno. But if they did, I'd approve it, because Aspirations are about getting what you want out of playing. It's not a circle jerk to set aspirations, pursue those aspirations, and get XP. And if someone never interacts with the rest of the game, what the hell does it matter if they've got a 5 in everything?
And holy shit, if someone Dramatic Fails at Stamina+Socialize to be a bad lay, I will fucking worship that person. Please, someone do that. PLEASE.
Are the people paired in twos with a partner with goals like "Fuck Lola again" and online every day in a private bedroom going to be the ones pulling ahead
I'm going to give this absurdity more respect than it deserves by saying: I've seen places go on record saying you can't repeat the same short term aspiration over and over again. So you'd have to, say, fuck Lola, then Sherry, and go through Donna and Becky and Jessie before maybe most staff would maybe let you get around to Lola again. Which might have to be something more like 'explain Sherry and Donna and Becky and Jessie' to Lola then somehow still manage to fuck Lola again, which, you know, I'd probably give somebody, given the givens.
turning in all those beats and the dramatic failures at Stamina + Socialize for being a bad lay going to be earning as much as the people who are running plots for others or being organization important?
I'm sure somebody, somewhere, has tried this. Haven't seen it, but I'm sure somebody's doing it. I'm absolutely positive somebody poses really horrible sex on purpose for XP. (And, in all seriousness, three cheers to them, because that'd be such a refreshing change from all the people who have to be awesome at the sexy things all the time.) I'm equally certain that at least a few of these people aren't so cagey about sending TS poses to staff, as required for dramafail reporting, have no shame whatsoever and would have no problem doing it. Part of me is sad for them that the collective news files being shared amongst most games these days more or less say: don't send explicit content to staff in jobs or even BGs.
The disenfranchisement isn't just "I won't catch up to dose guyz." The disenfranchisement is when someone's getting some because I don't think that's valid RP, and don't understand the reality of the situation enough to realize how impressively improbable my fear of this actually is.
To quote many before me: fixed that for you.
Man do I have my next LT Aspiration for an awkward character: Lose his virginity.
Actually I made a LT plot out of that once on TR, and got zero XP out of it. Maybe a +recc for being hilarious, perhaps.
I keep seeing this over and over: Being super active, doing tons of shit. Who's definition of shit? Who's definition of active?
In between coding, I will be going over all RP logs and deciding who is worthy. I'm the one you have to convince. Good luck.
Part of me is sad for them that the collective news files being shared amongst most games these days more or less say: don't send explicit content to staff in jobs or even BGs.
You know, this is actually a good point. I don’t think that anyone involved is actually terrified of this sort of thing and that most/all of us agree that ‘adult content’ can actually be significant in a number of ways... I think the reason it shows up in blanket no-statements like that is more because its hard to articulate ‘Hey, use good judgment here and don’t just send me random terrible porn please’.
It isn't just terrible porn, but that some people like to throw in truly horrible dark shit at staff with no warning. The kind of stuff you don't just drop on people without at least a "Hey, fyi this contains graphic animal gangrape of a minor"
Some of the rape dungeon bullshit I've seen wants me to put a kibosh on that kind of bullshit. Because it's bullshit to have to have anything to do with.
I always thought staffing on Shang must be ... quite an experience.
At least they volunteer for it.
My favorite BG I had to review as a staffer involved explicit descriptions of the PC's orgasms (I swear to god she used the word cum or cumming like 5 times in separate sections), the rapey mcbondageson carnival of BDSM that was her durance, along with her daring escape from the White Slave Traders of Aleswich by running away from them after they'd broken her legs...
It was tremendous fun to hand over to the brand new staffer as their first app to process on their own though.
Fun times. I should have gotten a free cigarette after that one.