Author Topic: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters  (Read 1055 times)

Andrew

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A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:21:19 PM »
So, Might & Fealty, is a game about characters and what they do, but we have a problem in that players realize that they're easy to make and will spam them.

I'm open to ideas on how to get players to value their characters more, and will start with proposing my own idea for how to do it.

Make it so captivity cannot be escaped by chance. Either your captor becomes captive (and you pass to the new captor) or they release/kill you. Captivity will either prevent you from killing your character, or massively up the spawn timer. The goal here is to tie up people who abuse the character setup, and at the same time, build up recognition between families and characters of those families that act in ways we want (not spamming characters to use as weapons).

Your thoughts please!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 01:23:46 PM by Andrew »
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The Vintroth

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2018, 01:57:08 PM »
I believe that Might and Fealty, to a large extent, is interesting because of the stories that come from actual characters that develop in various situations in a certain setting.

The only thing I'd point out is that if your captor slumbered, it'd be nice to be able to escape. Other then that, ransoms should work well enough to get your characters free in most places. To massively increase or even stop you from killing the character will likely lessen the problem of FO commanders that are not characters. - Though there is always the chance that they won't be captured and remain the worthless 'character' they already are.

I would raise another idea that could complement your idea. To have characters approved before they can be spawned. It would increase the amount of time it would take to get a character spawned since a "Moderator/Admin/Character checker" needs to read through your description and general idea. For the negative effects this might possibly have, it would force everyone to actually put some effort into creating characters. Furthermore, it would force people to write descriptions which I believe is always nice to see.

Foxglove

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2018, 05:30:53 PM »
I've never been a fan in any game of the concept of putting characters semi-permanently in to a place where you can't play them unless someone else allows it (i.e. if you are captured you stay there until another player decides to release you). The game would effectively punish you for taking part in a battle by depriving you of use of the character if it gets captured. Not a good idea.

I think there's often a vision in game design that a problem can be solved by a big stick rather than a carrot - punish a player to encourage them to behave in certain ways, rather than offer them some incentive to behave in a certain way.

There are basically two ways that games traditionally create player attachment to characters - on an emotional level (the character has or develops some story that makes the player attached to them); or by making the character more valuable as you progress through the game (new skills, etc) - or, of course, by some combination of the two.

My suggestion would be to allow characters to gain something as they go along (experience; abilities; skills; or some thing of that sort). When you create a new character it's a blank slate but becomes more valuable as you go along. Then players wouldn't consider characters to be so disposable and spamming new characters wouldn't be an easy option.

I'd suggest things like giving characters a bonus to settlement production; a bonus in battle; and so on depending on their past actions - i.e. charcters actually have to do something to earn experience (in the form of players clicking options while playing them). They wouldn't gain experience just passively. That may mean that people who really focus on development of a few characters might then actually gain advantages over players who just spam large numbers of disposable characters. Possibly, you could also make it so that experience/skills degrade if they are not used for a time. That might somewhat guard against the creation of super-characters who become amazing at everything by being rotated through different duties so they max out experience in all areas.

Also, it would be a help if the trait system actually worked. Part of the reason it was introduced was to make characters different from each other, but it does no good unless fully implemented.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 05:42:38 PM by Foxglove »
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Cipheron

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2018, 01:10:01 AM »
I think there's often a vision in game design that a problem can be solved by a big stick rather than a carrot - punish a player to encourage them to behave in certain ways, rather than offer them some incentive to behave in a certain way.

That's right. Richard Bartle, the creator of the original MUDs also talks about this as a common stumbling block when creating online games. Devs often believe they can dis-incentivize a behavior and that players therefore must switch to the "preferred" behavior. But they can easily switch to the behavior of playing a completely different game or activity. When trying to shift players from Choice A to Choice B, you should take into account the risk of Choice C, which represents "play something else".

Quote
I'd suggest things like giving characters a bonus to settlement production; a bonus in battle; and so on depending on their past actions - i.e. charcters actually have to do something to earn experience (in the form of players clicking options while playing them). They wouldn't gain experience just passively. That may mean that people who really focus on development of a few characters might then actually gain advantages over players who just spam large numbers of disposable characters.

I don't think if that would help tip the balance in this particular scenario. Consider a players with a 10-character account, they've trained up their core characters, then during a war, they bump up to a higher-tier account and spam additional commanders. They're still getting the benefit of the high-focus training on their core leaders, but that in no way dis-incentivizes them from spamming disposable grunts. This is not a criticism of the idea, but we need to think through real-life examples to see if the policy would actually affect behavior in the way that's claimed.

The thing is, there's a huge disconnected between how many troops an account can have in their settlements, vs how many troops you can effectively mobilize. It's this imbalance that creates the scenario in which massive character spam is a winning strategy in warfare. So while putting a dampener on character creation could slow this down, it's only hiding the exploit below an extra level of paperwork, not removing the core issue of game balance.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 01:11:37 AM by Cipheron »

silvershot

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2018, 03:16:34 PM »
I am concerned that an inability to escape would simply give more power to the players who do not care about the stories of the world that other players have created. When your characters means nothing, and their character(s) means a lot... Only one person really has anything to lose.

It may be better to revisit how one should be able to escape; what risks might be involved. Additionally, killing yourself why captured might eventually be a viable option, but it's unlikely if it's a character you care about (unless it fits within their personality assuming you role play).

If you cannot escape, and you cannot under any circumstances kill your character while they are captured, then I find it highly likely that someone will just hold prisoners, blocking that character slot from being used, and then just simply execute them after getting what they want afterwards.

Perhaps the latter point makes sense under some circumstances in story, but there's definitely room for power-gamey abuse.


To put it in a more succinct manner... A meaningful character captured by a meaningless (e.g. drone or what have you) character will just be killed or be held (until likely killed) by a player who does not care about creating a story nor the IC consequences of their actions. Basically, if you don't play the game to develop stories, then everyone else's stories are probably irrelevant and IC feelings about you and your characters will basically never matter to them.

Humbaz

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2018, 03:10:43 PM »
One character per player only: Thats the way to go in my opinion. People would identify with and value their characters much more.

De-Legro

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2018, 01:59:21 AM »
One character per player only: Thats the way to go in my opinion. People would identify with and value their characters much more.


I would get so bored, then again I do value my characters. The last one I lost was only new but it completely destroyed a planned RP arc.
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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 01:05:44 AM »
Maybe having more achievements would help?  I wish I knew how many times Wilson had ruled a realm or held titles, how many nobles were killed by him (or his army) in battle.  All of this and more.  It is almost like a tomb stone...or a way to see the pedigree of a character by looking up her dead relatives.

Rest in Peace... Wilson Van Valen...

http://mightandfealty.com/en/character/view/202

1-5-3 Has appeared at Stoneham.17-39-1 Died in battle. Achievements battle glory 41mortal soldiers slain 43nobles captured 9battles fought 86

wecarelittle

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2018, 02:55:54 AM »
So, Might & Fealty, is a game about characters and what they do, but we have a problem in that players realize that they're easy to make and will spam them.

I'm open to ideas on how to get players to value their characters more, and will start with proposing my own idea for how to do it.

Make it so captivity cannot be escaped by chance. Either your captor becomes captive (and you pass to the new captor) or they release/kill you. Captivity will either prevent you from killing your character, or massively up the spawn timer. The goal here is to tie up people who abuse the character setup, and at the same time, build up recognition between families and characters of those families that act in ways we want (not spamming characters to use as weapons).

Your thoughts please!



Focus on things that 'build' character./family legacy.
eg. a family crest and related.
make that cheaper and more encouraging to get.
It adds more diversity if people can have banners.
All are nobility or first ones after all, not bandits, and most houses had some banner/shield/crest identification.


Houses could perhaps marry to get more benefits of some sort. eg. to have a 'kid' in the family you need marriage between houses, else its just another independent character.


The game only rewards powerplay or pay to win for those spending credits.
you then have more nobles and towns than many free players and can can overpower any realm alone even.
This has chased many of our players away from the game and left horrible review or taken down good reviews actually bothering to mention the game.


Also, the playerbase.. some have real lives, work etc. and don't benefit much from a pay monthly plan when they only play a little each night after work or every 2nd day when there's time. It makes more sense for someone like a kid or student who has lots of time to play full-time to manage multiple characters and stories/rp etc in their realms than for the casual player who then barely have time to play three of his chars per day.


I used to be exited for this game and was even responsible for introducing some of the game's original hero funders when it started, they no longer play. We dont even talk about this shit anymore. Its a bad topic.


I hold on, hoping for better days, but like bmaster, its been years of no improvement.
I consider deleting often. Losts a couple of large realms and many friends in this due to powerplayers storming through.


But enough about me.


Picture this scenario for newbies. you start off in some realm, or alone and are given say a town to manage. great. A year later (real time, if you stuck around) that town should be somewhat ok with a few buildings, maybe walls.
You may have had a battle or two.


Then comes a power player wih multiple characters  and takes over your towns that you built up because he has many more towns and resulting troops (paid account) vs. his few free-play settlements.


Sure you could spend another 2/3 years tryng to get towns back and such, or just quit game and go play something newer that came out - so many choises out there and often free games handed out on occasion if you know where to look. Why bother with this really?


Summary: by all means, reward paying customers with props or things (maybe a special building/palace) for their characters, but not with 'power' or such that unbalances the playing field or you'll only have their clones left in the end. Go back to the drawing board and create a 'fun' game for all. And wipe the dungeon minigame, nobody plays that.
 


Andrew

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2018, 08:48:20 PM »
Quote
There are basically two ways that games traditionally create player attachment to characters - on an emotional level (the character has or develops some story that makes the player attached to them); or by making the character more valuable as you progress through the game (new skills, etc) - or, of course, by some combination of the two.

My suggestion would be to allow characters to gain something as they go along (experience; abilities; skills; or some thing of that sort). When you create a new character it's a blank slate but becomes more valuable as you go along. Then players wouldn't consider characters to be so disposable and spamming new characters wouldn't be an easy option.

I'd suggest things like giving characters a bonus to settlement production; a bonus in battle; and so on depending on their past actions - i.e. charcters actually have to do something to earn experience (in the form of players clicking options while playing them). They wouldn't gain experience just passively. That may mean that people who really focus on development of a few characters might then actually gain advantages over players who just spam large numbers of disposable characters. Possibly, you could also make it so that experience/skills degrade if they are not used for a time. That might somewhat guard against the creation of super-characters who become amazing at everything by being rotated through different duties so they max out experience in all areas.

I'm all for stats, but I know a few people have been against them. This is something we'd need to sit down and really figure out before we start implementing them. We'll need some sort of stat system before I implement duels and tournaments and the like though. Personally, I'm for some sort of infinite-yet-diminishing system, where 10 vs 9 is a greater gap than 100 vs 99 which is itself a greater gap than 1000 vs 999. But I'd also be liable to code a chance for a ridiculous victory (skill 1 triumphing over skill 1000) just because.

Quote
Also, it would be a help if the trait system actually worked. Part of the reason it was introduced was to make characters different from each other, but it does no good unless fully implemented.

True. I think if I touch the trait system though, I'll likely start over from scratch on it. Add more traits, make it more diverse. Code in some special combos. Stuff like that. Might even add some special ones that are regularly obtainable.

Quote
Maybe having more achievements would help?

I'm game. Tell me what I should make an achievement! A lot of them are just one-off checks, so they should be pretty easy to do.

Quote
Focus on things that 'build' character./family legacy.
eg. a family crest and related.
make that cheaper and more encouraging to get.
It adds more diversity if people can have banners.
All are nobility or first ones after all, not bandits, and most houses had some banner/shield/crest identification.

Houses having crests will be in the next update. This code is already finalized and tested.

Quote
Houses could perhaps marry to get more benefits of some sort. eg. to have a 'kid' in the family you need marriage between houses, else its just another independent character.

I'd like to not add any complicated features with the initial release, as it'll just draw out the development time needlessly. As it stands, you can make and edit a house, apply to join a house, and manage applicants to your house. Down the line, I'd like a way to merge houses, create cadet houses (already in the code, actually), split cadet houses off into their own (family feuds). There might even be code to auto-assign new children to a house upon creation, but I'm not sure. I'll have to look.

Quote
I used to be exited for this game and was even responsible for introducing some of the game's original hero funders when it started, they no longer play. We dont even talk about this shit anymore. Its a bad topic.

I hold on, hoping for better days, but like bmaster, its been years of no improvement.
I consider deleting often. Losts a couple of large realms and many friends in this due to powerplayers storming through.

It's unfortunate that you think there's been no improvement. Unlike BM, which has 3-5 people coding, I'm a one man team here, but I've managed to keep pace with their own developments. I will admit, a lot of my work has been refining existing systems, or laying the groundwork for future ones, rather than big, flashy new features. I taught myself PHP by coding this game, and as a few people will attest, I've gotten a lot better over the nearly 2 years I've been at it.

At some point I plan on inviting old players back to the game to check it out again, when I'm confident they'll enjoy it and immediately be able to tell it's not the M&F they remember, but something better. We're not there yet, and won't be for a while I imagine, but people sticking around to help me figure out what to do (or even coding themselves, if they know how or want to learn), will help us get there sooner.

Quote
The game only rewards powerplay or pay to win for those spending credits.
you then have more nobles and towns than many free players and can can overpower any realm alone even.
This has chased many of our players away from the game and left horrible review or taken down good reviews actually bothering to mention the game.
Quote
Picture this scenario for newbies. you start off in some realm, or alone and are given say a town to manage. great. A year later (real time, if you stuck around) that town should be somewhat ok with a few buildings, maybe walls.
You may have had a battle or two.

Then comes a power player wih multiple characters  and takes over your towns that you built up because he has many more towns and resulting troops (paid account) vs. his few free-play settlements.

Sure you could spend another 2/3 years tryng to get towns back and such, or just quit game and go play something newer that came out - so many choises out there and often free games handed out on occasion if you know where to look. Why bother with this really?

I do want to create a system that makes it harder to lose settlements. So people aren't so quick to lose all they've invested. I want players to build stories and lore for their lands, and I want that to be possible to lose, but not easily so. If you quit, in time, your mark will be erased, but if your town is invaded, well, why should it just magically forget you? That's just wrong, but there's no silver bullet to fix it, as far as I can tell. I'm tempted to add an occupation system, that grants occupiers certain privileges while maintaining the previous lord's role. My concern with that though, is you'd need some mechanic to eventually force your demands on an opponent, because if not they could simply just refuse to ever accept your terms (and thus prevent the attackers from EVER gaining a true lordship).

Quote
Summary: by all means, reward paying customers with props or things (maybe a special building/palace) for their characters, but not with 'power' or such that unbalances the playing field or you'll only have their clones left in the end. Go back to the drawing board and create a 'fun' game for all. And wipe the dungeon minigame, nobody plays that.

Hm... It'd not be hard to bring the character limits down, and grandfather existing accounts in to their current ones, but doing that means the people who want more will just make more accounts. And I'd prefer to not have to spend my time hunting people with more than there allowed number of accounts.

I like the dungeons, for what it's worth. And they function, so there's no real reason to remove them. Tempted to code some unique achievements in for them, actually. I'd love to see someone fight a dragon, to be honest.
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De-Legro

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2018, 11:55:50 PM »
If we do stats, which I am not a fan of personally but I see the allure, I would like to see them be somewhat vague. Being able to say I have 18 strength etc is in no way immersive to me.
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AlfaVita

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Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2018, 04:25:28 PM »
Stats as a whole seems like a bad idea, especially if it's based off of amount of time character has existed and what the character has gone through (i.e. battles). It rewards old players, sure. But it bludgeons new players to death. "Ha! You can't beat my level fifteen knight you peasant! I have so much battle skill even if you use heavy infantry I will destroy you!" I think simply adding more diverse traits (as Andrew said) and having them have *slight* bonuses would make more sense. You may also want to get rid of the heredity of traits since people can abuse that if they actually do something (i.e. make a bunch of ancestors, check their traits, use the best ones as mother and father of your new character). You really don't want to make traits too overpowered, else it'd be a game breaker. Though if you add in effects and new traits all of a sudden all the old characters would have messed up ones. I've seen plenty of people with just two of the same traits (Judge Judge, Xerarch Xerarch), so that may be a problem all by itself.