Automated RP rewards

 
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cron0s



Joined: 13 May 2005
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 6:29 pm    Post subject: Automated RP rewards Reply with quote

I am curious to know what kinds of systems, if any, people are using to automate rewards for roleplaying.

Currently I am thinking about awarding a small amount of XP to a character every time they use 'say' or 'emote' based on the number of observers. There would be no XP gain if the character was alone. I am aware it would be easy to cheat by standing in a group and automating these commands, but I think some careful command logging coupled with severe squashing of offenders would soon put a stop to it. This system is very crude I know, but I would like to reward players in some way for interacting with each other, rather than just with the environment.

I am aware that there is a large body of opinion that says you cannot really automate rewards for rp, or that it should be its own reward, but I would still like to hear from anyone who has tried.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 6:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Automated RP rewards Reply with quote

cron0s wrote:
I am curious to know what kinds of systems, if any, people are using to automate rewards for roleplaying.


I spent a while trying to think up an approach on my old mud (which is lost since deceased), but in the end decided not to bother - and just rewarded exp for being online.

Quote:
I would like to reward players in some way for interacting with each other, rather than just with the environment.


Automating rewards for roleplaying is very difficult to judge, but if you're just after rewarding social interaction then that's not so hard. I'd suggest something along the lines of an 'interaction counter' which slowly increases based on spending time in proximity with someone else and using commands such as 'say' and 'emote'.

Another approach which some people seem to favour is the idea of players being able to secretly rate each other for roleplaying ability. This is obviously easy to abuse, but perhaps it might work well in combination with the aforementioned interaction counter...
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Cornelius



Joined: 13 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never tried a system but reading KaVir's post gave me an idea. What if instead of directly influencing the character, emotes and says added to an affect timer that would add other bonuses to the character. For instance y RP-meter is at 0 because I havnt rp'd- now I go to the town hall and RP for a few ticks bringing my rp-meter to 100 (20 for each emote, 10 for each say, e.g.) now as I am not rping the meter will constantly drop so by the time I get to my hunting area I have 50 rp-meter so everytime i kill something I gain 1.05x the amount of experience and maybe I hit 1.05x harder, my magic uses 0.95x mana etc... the point is two-fold- 1) it encourages people to take groups out with them and interact in the field to keep their bonuses up, rather than just townhall rpping like you would see with a direct affect system. 2) it is less likely going to be nerfed since the rewards for it are not direct... I cant just script emotes in townhalls and get anywhere. Now this wont stop people from just talking shit to increase their bonuses but then no automated system can do this- you will have to just trust the integrity of your players to keep checks on their fellow players and basically decide not to group with known cheaters.

As a sidenote... perhaps the system would work better backwards increasing your rp-meter when someone else interacts with you? That way cheaters would have to get more people to help them cheat. And if you throw in another bonus for each person currently in the room then they would have to have even more conspirators to help them cheat and if you have such a conglomeration of cheaters on your game- your going to have far more problems anyway...

basically the system doesn't disallow cheating, it just discourages it and makes it obsolete to those using it the correct way.

That being said... why are you interested in rewarding RP in such a non-RP oriented way? I mean aren't the people that are most concerned with RP the same that are the least concerned with xp? Its like rewarding the dolphin with a glass of water.

And non-rpers are interested in nerfing game mechanics, thats just what they do, so if you introduce a mechanic that allows them to nerf it... they invariably will.
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Ashon



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hrm. Had this thought after thinking briefly on the subject. What if you limited the roleplay experience a little bit more.

Take the idea of building your Roleplaying Meter. But, assume that the point of roleplaying is to learn about the environment, and interact with and learn about the game (which is a big part of Tabletop, at least I think so).

So as a player interacts with the game, talks to certain npcs, visits certain places, does certain quests, or whatever, they pick a knowledge token. This knowledge token represents in game knowledge or game understanding. Then they go off to RP with another character, and as the RP meter fills up, they start talking about some in game event, and every time one of these knowledge tokens gets trigggered (like talking about the king!) now the next character gets the King Knowledge token. Assuming the RP Meter is filled, or depending on the amount of fill in it they get a certain amount of xp? This could work with NPC's too. Start interacting with the NPC, meter fills, and then they find recieve a knowledge token.

Spew, spew, spew.
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cron0s



Joined: 13 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cornelius wrote:

That being said... why are you interested in rewarding RP in such a non-RP oriented way? I mean aren't the people that are most concerned with RP the same that are the least concerned with xp? Its like rewarding the dolphin with a glass of water.


We probably have a different definition of RP. When I say RP I mean character-character interection, as opposed to character-environment interaction. I guess I am what you might call a 'soft RPer'. I don't expect players to be chatting about saturday's football game, but neither do I expect them to necessarily have a detailed character background, description, etc.
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Falconer



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Currently I am thinking about awarding a small amount of XP to a character every time they use 'say' or 'emote' based on the number of observers.


I've seen this tactic employed by a number of different environments, and to be honest, I've never seen it work as intended. There's an inherent flaw to the design of RPXP systems, though it can manifest itself in different ways:

1. If the time spent interacting does not give as much XP as going out and destroying an orc village, for example, the system will be discarded by a number of players - most likely the same players that you'd hope the system would encourage.

2. If the time spent interacting gives substantial XP, you'll find players engaging in interaction but neglecting other areas of the game - combat, exploration, crafting - that have been previously stressed.

Roleplaying is, at the end of the day, a subjective aesthetic. As such, it becomes highly difficult to reward roleplaying through automated or objective systems, as these fail to take into account the broad spectrum of differing characterizations. How, for example, would you reward a player with an exceptional but anti-social character? You could add in a private <think> command that only staff members or psionics could see, you could add in character journals and the like, but it's still going to be difficult.

As such, I tend to favor subjective systems of reward in a transparent process with public results. Why not add in a voting system where players and staff can vote for the individuals they feel add to the roleplaying atmosphere of the game? Each week the results are tabulated, and the top three vote-getters are rewarded with a bundle of experience or the like.

Such a system should be relatively easy to implement and may provide the prodding that you're looking for in a way that isn't nearly as stale as an automated system. That said, if you truly want a broader level of roleplayed interaction in your game, you're going to have to take a long look at all of your implemented systems. The best way to ensure interaction is to require interaction for success in other arenas. If you make solo-adventuring extremely difficult, add player-run political and economic systems, and run storylines that require the talents of multiple character-types, you're going to see players interacting by neccessity.
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, how could you base a system for RP rewards on mundane things like say and emote? What has the chatter over different channels that goes on almost incessantly on most muds - including my own - got to do with roleplaying? Socializing is usually a big part of all mud communities, but why call it roleplay and why reward it?

There has to be some quality standards attached to the rewards, and that means that someone has to actually assess them. Meaning either the mortals (with all the potential of abuse and cheating that this involves) or the immortals, (meaning either logging and snooping, which is an invasion of privacy IMO, or having the players send in their own logs, which means a lot of administration work).

I just ran a large RP event on my own mud as an experiment, and quite frankly the work involved in administrating it more or less burnt me out. We based the award system on logs sent in by the players, and as a result we got WAY too may logs...

But I don't really think there are any easy shortcuts to RP rewards. There is always an element of quality and IC immersion that needs to be monitored, or the rewards will not be worth anything.
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cron0s



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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should perhaps say it again, but I consider all 'in character' interaction to be roleplaying. I appreciate many of you have much stricter definitions of the word, but that's ok too Wink If it makes it easier, substitute 'in character interaction' for roleplaying in my posts.

I should also say I don't plan on having any channels such as gossip, auction etc. There will be one global shout channel, says, emotes and tells. All public channels, that is all except tells, must be 'in character'. I don't intend to hold players to any higher standards of roleplaying than that. So what I am really looking at is a system that rewards social interaction, and encourages players to use public 'in character' channels.

Quote:

1. If the time spent interacting does not give as much XP as going out and destroying an orc village, for example, the system will be discarded by a number of players - most likely the same players that you'd hope the system would encourage.

That is likely true, but for those players who dislike combat it does provide an alternative (if possibly inferior) method of advancement.
Quote:

2. If the time spent interacting gives substantial XP, you'll find players engaging in interaction but neglecting other areas of the game - combat, exploration, crafting - that have been previously stressed.

Because of the team based PvP nature of the game, there will be other pressures on players to engage in those areas of the game. However I still think there should be rewards for players who prefer social interaction, as there are for those who prefer combat, crafting, exploration etc.
Quote:

How, for example, would you reward a player with an exceptional but anti-social character? You could add in a private <think> command that only staff members or psionics could see, you could add in character journals and the like, but it's still going to be difficult.

That's an excellent point, and under the system I propose that player would certainly be at a disadvantage.
Quote:

As such, I tend to favor subjective systems of reward in a transparent process with public results. Why not add in a voting system where players and staff can vote for the individuals they feel add to the roleplaying atmosphere of the game? Each week the results are tabulated, and the top three vote-getters are rewarded with a bundle of experience or the like.

Apart from the obvious problems with bribery and corruption, I tend to think these systems detract from the immersion of the game. My ideal would be to create a world where people don't have to consciously roleplay. I don't like the idea of taking roleplay and making it something special, that only certain people do and at certain times. It reminds me of those muds where players have to organise and arrange rp sessions in advance. I want my players to be roleplaying all the time, even if it's very badly! Of course you need every other system of your game to support this, a few bonus xp for emoting isn't going to do anything on its own.
Quote:

Honestly, how could you base a system for RP rewards on mundane things like say and emote? What has the chatter over different channels that goes on almost incessantly on most muds - including my own - got to do with roleplaying? Socializing is usually a big part of all mud communities, but why call it roleplay and why reward it?

Call me an idealist (or a poor roleplayer!), but I consider public chatter to be roleplaying. Of course we can argue about whether socialising is roleplay, and I appreciate most people probably think it isn't, but I do think rewarding positive (by that I mean 'in character') social interaction is worthwhile.

One twist would be to increase the xp award to the character if the observer was very low level. Again I wouldn't ever expect the more psychopathic minded players to choose helping newbies as their preferred method of advancement, but it would provide some rewards for those players who do enjoy it and spend a large part of their time doing it.
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Alayla



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Falconer wrote:
1. If the time spent interacting does not give as much XP as going out and destroying an orc village, for example, the system will be discarded by a number of players - most likely the same players that you'd hope the system would encourage.

2. If the time spent interacting gives substantial XP, you'll find players engaging in interaction but neglecting other areas of the game - combat, exploration, crafting - that have been previously stressed.


This could perhaps be solved by having a weighed RP exp vs. combat exp system, similar to the brutality systems some muds have for quest vs. combat experience.
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Cenwyc



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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1. If the time spent interacting does not give as much XP as going out and destroying an orc village, for example, the system will be discarded by a number of players - most likely the same players that you'd hope the system would encourage.

2. If the time spent interacting gives substantial XP, you'll find players engaging in interaction but neglecting other areas of the game - combat, exploration, crafting - that have been previously stressed.



One way to address this problem is for each player to have 2 levels. Their "Adventure Level", determined by number of mob kills, etc, would affect their to-hit rolls, mana, and other traditional indices of power.

Their "Role-Play Level", as determined by emotes/says, would have a more subtle effect. It might only influence mob triggers. For instance, a bard mob might strike up a different, more informative, conversation with any player above "RP Level" 20. A king mob might enlist a player above "RP Level 25" as an ambassador for a diplomatic quest. Etc.

I agree that emotes/says should only give experience when done in the presense of other players. This is how it worked on my first mud. And the exp code penalized you if it spotted patterns of spam in your says/emotes. It wasn't a perfect system for stopping cheaters, but if you make the benefits of a high "RP Level" fairly small (compared to the benefits of a high "Adventurer Level") then I think you can get the sort of mild, non-obsessive boost in RP that many of us are looking for.

Cenwyc
Phoenixmud[/quote]
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Maraz



Joined: 18 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that rewarding emote commands or say commands is a particularly good way of either encouraging good roleplay or rewarding it. There is no way that the game could determain the quality of roleplay only the frequency of the commands; what about characters who would naturally not say very much?

I think that honestly the only viable system of rewarding roleplay is to have it somehow judged - although even this is far from perfect. If you limit the judges to people you can trust, staff or selected roleplayers, then you risk missing lots of roleplay. On the other hand letting anyone reward roleplay is far too open to abuse.

I guess it's not a very helpful contribution, but I think it is impossible to encourage roleplay through rewards. Those who roleplay will do it because it's what they enjoy it. Perhaps the best way to encourage roleplay is through encouraging player interaction - eg. quests that require team work, complimentary skills/classes, and a system where groups of fighters are far mroe effective then single fighters. By bringing players together you might get them to roleplay.
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