Avoiding clan domination

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    mudlab.org Forum Index -> Design
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:44 pm    Post subject: Avoiding clan domination Reply with quote

Back in 1994/1995 I used to play Realms of Despair. I was the joint founder of the DarkBlade clan, and we brutally dominated the mud - we were by far the most experienced players (many of us predating most of the immortal staff), and earned more player kills than the dozen other clans combined.

At the time it was great fun, but looking back now I can understand why the staff tried so hard to break our hold (in the end they achieved it by luring away several prominent members with the promise of having their own clans, but it still caused an awful lot of disruption). It is not a situation I'd like to find my own mud in.

My current plan is to provide a high-powered quest which, when completed, allows you to found your own religion. The founder of a religion can induct up to 20 members (up to 5 high deities with the same full bonuses as the leader, up to 5 low deities with reduced bonuses, and up to 10 demi-deities with even smaller bonuses).

The clans are referred to as 'pantheons' (for thematic reasons), but in fact it's possible to be a clan of 1 (meaning that your religion is based on monotheism rather than polytheism). This gives you access to the same options as a regular pantheon (for those who don't want to be part of a "clan"), but obviously you won't have other people sharing the expense of the various options, or helping you win clan events.

Several unofficial clans have already sprung up in the last few months, and some of them have a fairly large number of members. A couple of players have already pointed out that, if they can't have all of their clan members in one pantheon, they'll just split themselves up into as many smaller units as they need while continuing to organise themselves as a single clan.

My hope is that by providing competitive events, these meta-pantheons will start to break apart. Perhaps initially they'll wipe out the other pantheons before they turn on each other for the prize - but when one pantheon keeps winning, the others will start looking for underhanded ways to get ahead. Losing will give rise to resentment, rivalries will form, and with luck it'll all end in a brutal and bloody civil war.

However there's also the issue of alts. Most of the top players have several alts, and if they want all their alts to be in the same pantheon, they're likely to take up all the top ranks just on their own. In the worst case scenario, this is going to end up with most players running pantheons solo, which completely undermines my purpose for adding clans (as a way of organising players into teams).

I've considered allowing players to 'mark' alts, and perhaps remove those alts from the member limit, but that would encourage pantheons to only recruit members who have lots of alts. Without restricting those alts in some way, players could also just lie in order to recruit friends into the pantheon (but if the alts are restricted, it could be that nobody would bother marking their alts at all).

I'm a bit stumped at this point. What I may do is just remove the restriction on the number of lowest rank members (the demi-deities), and perhaps add some additional rewards for the top few pantheons - I fear that I'll still end up with some huge pantheons, but at least there'll be the incentive to form competing pantheons. I'm still not overly happy with this solution though.

Has anyone else dealt with this sort of situation?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A possible variation I've come up with is as follows:

Each pantheon may have no more than five high deities and ten low deities. There is no limit on how many demi-deities they may have.

In addition, the five strongest (highest scoring) pantheons receive an additional bonus in their pantheon power of +2 (for high or low deities) or +1 (for demi-deity or lower), while the next five strongest pantheons receive +1 (for high or low deities) and no benefit for demi-deity or lower.

Then the power bonuses would be as follows:

+5: High deity of a top pantheon.
+4: Low deity of a top pantheon, or high deity of a bottom pantheon.
+3: Demi-deity of a top pantheon, low diety of a bottom pantheon, or high diety of an unranked pantheon.
+2: Demi-deity of a bottom pantheon, or low diety of an unranked pantheon.
+1: Demi-deity of an unranked pantheon.
+0: Immortal (trainee; never gets any bonuses regardless of pantheon).

Note that 'top pantheon' refers to the top five (positions 1-5) while 'bottom pantheon' refers to the next five (positions 6-10) and unranked refers to those of position 11 and higher.

If everyone were to initially join a single pantheon, six players (including the founder) would get +5, ten would get +4 and the rest would get +3. But any of those with +3 or +4 could simply create their own new pantheon and upgrade themselves and five friends to +5. The requirement for different spheres (pantheon bonus types) should also increase the demand for additional clans.

Once the top five pantheons are taken, any of their demi-deities could create their own new pantheon to increase their +3 bonus to a +4. The difficulty would be attracting demi-deities, because those demi-deities would receive better bonuses for being in one of the top five pantheons - perhaps the bottom pantheon should give a +1 bonus to ALL ranks, including demi-deity?

Unranked pantheons would of course suck, but there would always be the option of overtaking one of the ranked pantheons. The real drawback is that I can see many members abandoning their old pantheon like a sinking ship once it becomes unranked, so that they can sign up with a ranked pantheon instead.

The goal is for the number of pantheons to be "not too many, not too few". I think this might work, but I still have some doubts.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
ide



Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 105
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been mulling this over for a little while, but haven't come to any real conclusions. GW 2 is somewhat notorious (?) for alts (and perhaps multiplay?). I'm not sure if this makes the situation more difficult or not.

One thing that came to mind is to borrow some thematic ideas from the War mini-game -- NPC pantheons, or 'pantheon mobs' if you will. This would be part of a regular churn of the top pantheon spots, perhaps by having random match-ups of the top five pantheons, with the loser getting knocked out of the top ten list. This could seriously shake up a status quo where a single powerful alliance (or several players with many alts) would dominate the top three or four spots, and promote more of a 'every pantheon looks to its own' kind of set-up, which I think would be preferred, right?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Author Message
Itansha



Joined: 20 May 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's late so I'm not sure if this will make sense, but here it goes...

The first problem of maintaining a reasonably sized pantheon could possibly be addressed by having pantheon power points, for lack of a better word, with each member (other than the founder) requiring at least one point, with the actual cost dependent upon type of deity. The power bonuses that you mentioned would be caps on how much power that member can channel, with the actual amount channelled dependent upon the remaining points left after membership costs, so if you use all of your points maintaining members, you would never receive any bonuses.You could also allow for negative penalties if the gods overextend their pantheon.

It would also have the interesting side effect of allowing the unranked pantheons to be larger because they do not have any bonuses to lose, and so they might use their points to recruit more members and overpower the higher ranked pantheons. Once they rise in rank, though, they would see little to no benefits of that rise unless they lose some members. Those members might in turn form another pantheon to challenge their old one.

The above suggestion does not address the meta-pantheon issue, so depending on how insular you want to make the pantheons, you could have negative effects from members of one pantheon being in proximity to members of another. For instance, penalties to actions and/or draining health/magic. Players without pantheons would not affect or be affected.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Author Message
KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ide wrote:
GW 2 is somewhat notorious (?) for alts (and perhaps multiplay?). I'm not sure if this makes the situation more difficult or not.


It does pose problems for certain approaches, yes.

ide wrote:
One thing that came to mind is to borrow some thematic ideas from the War mini-game -- NPC pantheons, or 'pantheon mobs' if you will.


I certainly plan to have various events for the different pantheons, but I hadn't given much thought to the use of mobs. One of my main goals for pantheons is for them add a strong PK element to the game, but perhaps some mob events could be tied in as well. It's certainly worth further consideration.

Itansha wrote:
The first problem of maintaining a reasonably sized pantheon could possibly be addressed by having pantheon power points, for lack of a better word, with each member (other than the founder) requiring at least one point, with the actual cost dependent upon type of deity.


An interesting idea, but I fear it could make the pantheons too exclusive - I would prefer each pantheon to contain a mixture of character strengths, rather than have all the top players crammed together.

Where would these power points come from?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
Itansha



Joined: 20 May 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:

An interesting idea, but I fear it could make the pantheons too exclusive - I would prefer each pantheon to contain a mixture of character strengths, rather than have all the top players crammed together.

Where would these power points come from?


I originally thought that all pantheons would have a set number of points when created, so it would be a static number. I suppose you could have it based on how powerful the founder is, or something like that, though. I hadn't thought about the problem of creating a mixture of strengths, and with limited membership, there would be no incentive to take less powerful players.

Would having the cost per member be based upon both deity type and player strength work? For example, a pantheon can have 10 top players or 25 mid level for the same cost? You could also have certain tournament events restricted to lower strength players (junior olympics), so in order for a pantheon to compete and win, they must have members of that level.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Author Message
elanthis



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:26 am    Post subject: age of membership Reply with quote

(Unedited rambling mind-dump follows - sorry if it's hard to follow.)

One way to handle players wanting to constantly jump between clans/pantheons is to provide benefits to deities based on how long they've been in the clan, and how long the clan has been in existence. A popular system I've seen in WoW is a mechanism in which members who participate in events earn points, and these points are used to bid on the prizes won by the event. A player jumping into a new pantheon will have no points, and will have to prove himself, stick with the pantheon for a while, and actually earn any jubbies he gets from events. Smaller pantheons might require less time for a new member to earn as many points as existing members, but smaller pantheons would also be at a disadvantage in events.

You can take this even further. A pantheon is an organization of players. Events may take place in which only a portion of a panetheon takes part (this would be fairly common). When members of a pantheon take part in an event they would form a party/team/whatever. These teams would be of a fixed size for the event. Each pantheon can only have one team formed at a time per event.

This has two effects. First, tiny little three-man pantheons will be rare - players will want to stick with larger pantheons so that they can always get together enough members to participate in events. Super-large pantheons will be rare, because then many members would be barred from taking part in events as the per-pantheon quota would only a small fraction of the pantheon to attend.

If you look at MMOs like WoW, they get (close to) the effect I think you're looking for with respect to guilds. I think this is a big part of WoW's success - MMOs (and MUDs) are inherently social experiences, for all the things WoW may or may not do wrong, its guild setup works out pretty darn well.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Author Message
shasarak



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Emily's Shop

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quick thought:

Rather than have hard-coded limits for pantheon size, I suggest you use a softer-edged approach. Calculate a collective bonus for all pantheon members based on the number of members there are of a particular rank; calculate that in such a way that the bonus increases as you go from 1 member to x members (where x is the notional ideal number of members of that rank) but starts to decrease again when you go above x, and eventually turns negative.

Also, have the x value be much larger for lower ranks (e.g. level 1-10) than it is for higher ones (e.g. level 41-50).

This will create a pyramid-shaped "ideal" pantheon that conveys maximum bonuses on all its members: two or three high-powered deities at the top, a much larger number of low-ranked deities in the bottom tier. It will therefore benefit the top-ranked players to recruit a large number of low-level players into their pantheons; but once those low-level players reach a middle ranking, they will begin to have a negative effect on everyone's pantheon bonuses(including their own), so it will be not only in the interests of the pantheon but also in the interests of the players themselves if some of them leave to form pantheons of their own. The higher-level a player gets, the more likely it is that there won't be room for him in his old pantheon any more, and that it will be better for everyone if he leaves and recruits his own low-level junior deities in a new pantheon with himself at the head.

This also allows some flexibility: if a large clan fancies its chances of dominating the MUD by remaining large it is free to do so; it's possible that its numbers and cunning strategy may outweigh the steadily worsening large-pantheon penalties it experiences from excessive membership.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Author Message
Threshold



Joined: 06 Apr 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a reason you have no interest in a rule that does not allow people to have alts in the same pantheon? I have played many games that do not allow alts in the same clan. And then there are some games that require all your alts to be in the same clan (Tabula Rasa does that). It seems like either way is acceptable depending on the needs of your game.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Author Message
KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Itansha wrote:
Would having the cost per member be based upon both deity type and player strength work? For example, a pantheon can have 10 top players or 25 mid level for the same cost?


Perhaps, but what happens when the player gets stronger? If it only checks their strength when they are first inducted, it might push things too far in the other direction - to be a "top pantheon" you need to recruit players when they're still weak, otherwise it's not worth the point cost in the long term. Worst case scenario, the system could flip the other way, and only the weak players would be able to join pantheons.

Although I want pantheons to appeal to characters of all power levels, the system is really aimed at providing activities for players that have reached the advancement cap.


elanthis wrote:
One way to handle players wanting to constantly jump between clans/pantheons is to provide benefits to deities based on how long they've been in the clan, and how long the clan has been in existence.


I like that. I'd probably place a fairly low limit on it though - even just a week to reach full benefits would discourage people from jumping too often.


shasarak wrote:
Rather than have hard-coded limits for pantheon size, I suggest you use a softer-edged approach. Calculate a collective bonus for all pantheon members based on the number of members there are of a particular rank


I considered that. The problem is that pantheons would just buffer themselves up with weak alts in order to get bigger bonuses for their main characters.


Threshold wrote:
Is there a reason you have no interest in a rule that does not allow people to have alts in the same pantheon?


It's unenforcable - the best you can do is lay the smack down on those who are careless, and you'd invariably catch a few innocent people by mistake. That's not the sort of atmosphere I want to foster in my mud, and I've got better things to do with my time than spy on the players. If people are exploiting a hole in the design, I'd rather correct the problem than punish the symptom.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
Delerak



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 49
Location: Tampa

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I briefly read over the posts in this thread and I think I get the concepts presented.

Anyway, another thing you might want to consider are the age differentials between various characters in each pantheon. Maybe there should be a limit of total age of the characters in the pantheon dependent on certain factors?

For example maybe DarkBlade has a total age limit of 10,000, whereas Eteranl Fire has a maximum age limit of 8,000. The reasons can range from anywhere from their rank to the simple cost of upping the age limit within the pantheon somehow. This way you make the players work towards bettering the pantheons themselves, the age limits could increase due to a multitude of reasons as well.

Another idea I had would be to have different types of bonuses each pantheon might get when formed up. The bonuses would be innate once it's created and would be irreversible, also it would be very costly to try and re-create so you get different bonuses. That way you also get some variety thrown in there so not all clans are simply copies of the other. Maybe DarkBlades cater more to werewolves and demons and Eternal Fires bonuses cater more towards dragons and mages.

I dunno. Just a few ideas at 3:00 am in the morning.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    mudlab.org Forum Index -> Design All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group
BBTech Template by © 2003-04 MDesign