Author Topic: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?  (Read 646 times)

Thomoto

  • Posts: 138
Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« on: February 10, 2020, 11:34:13 AM »
I feel like a majority of metagaming or rping unrealistically to gain skills. Any ideas on how that would be done and if it could be done?
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mansa

  • Posts: 9819
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2020, 11:56:11 AM »
I'm not sure what you're talking about.

Do you have any examples?
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Greve

  • Posts: 189
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2020, 01:09:48 PM »
It comes from the fact that if you play "realistically," you fall way behind because that style of play gets you nowhere.

Steal only when your character is broke and you're in a cool scene where pickpocketing might create some interaction? You'll hit journeyman in eight months.

Backstab only when you have a legitimate reason to attempt to murder somebody? You'll die with apprentice in the skill.

Spar once or twice a day when people in your clan are available, you'll be stuck at the level of 'he's an okay fighter' for all eternity.

Craft only when somebody asks you to make something, you're never gonna have anyone ask you to make something.

The skillgain code is designed in a way that would make sense if we were actually playing our characters from childhood and twenty years onwards, putting in 12h/day. When you roll up an adult PC and want to be useful in some way within the same quarter of the year, it's bogus. If you want to actually play the local dependable thief or the Guild hitman or the guy who has some real money available to him in order to make some moves, and thereby actually gets some attention and interaction, there is no way to accomplish this in a timely manner unless you mindlessly grind those skills for no other reason than to raise them to the level of relevancy. The vast majority of skills are absolutely useless until at least advanced, and many need master before you can really depend on them. Those who play fair just miss out.

I'm sure three veterans will now weigh in and assure us all that they're such impeccable roleplayers that they have no qualms waiting four months before each of their characters become good at the main thing they're trying to do, but let's be honest here: we're all adults and ain't nobody got time for that. So people resort to metagaming instead, and it's because unless you have OOC friends or a sponsored role, the entryway to interesting roleplay is extremely small if your character is not pretty good at something. And there is no skill in this game which people actually care about that you can become good at in a timely manner without just doing it periodically for the sake of gaining points in it. Them's the breaks. This is why people do it. The reason is not a mystery. Not everyone wants to play Aide #258120 with every char.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 01:49:31 PM by Greve »

Narf

  • Posts: 877
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2020, 01:55:16 PM »
I feel like you've casually asked people to develop the holy grail of all RPGs that various people have been trying to do since 1975.

I mean, yes we should do it but... How?

Greve

  • Posts: 189
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2020, 02:15:59 PM »
That's a fair enough point, but my answer will be that while munchkin habits are by no means unique to Armageddon, they exist here to a degree that far surpasses other games of the same type. Here I'm talking about games like Harshlands, Shadows of Isildur, Atonement, etc. I would like to pre-emptively point out (since someone would otherwise be sure to make the claim) that while some of these games have not stood the test of time, that's not because of anything that pertains to this topic. In other words, please don't go "Game X is dead now, how could anything it did be any good?"

So let's look at what is the case on Armageddon that was not the case on other RPIs:

- Other RPIs generally don't have combat code that halts your progress at the halfway point unless you cheat

- Other RPIs didn't have crafting systems where 99% of recipes were useless garbage that nobody could possibly want, encouraging players to grind crafting skills up to the point where they can make one of the select few things for which there's actually some demand

- They didn't have a ton of class-defining skills that were useless - sometimes borderline suicidal to use - until they were near maxed

- They didn't have classes in the first place, preferring a customized skill selection

- They didn't have stat systems that could completely make or break a character based on a diceroll with extreme degrees of variance

- They didn't have skill progression systems designed to take many, many RL months to move through when playing as intended

- They didn't have OOC award systems (karma, RPP, what-have-you) that offered objectively superior character options with no real drawbacks, incentivizing people without those options to grind skills in order to compensate. Instead they had what Arm used to have: award options that offered different playstyles with risks, disadvantages and special obligations. Now we have "My Character Just Gets To Be Way Better" subclasses, and even people asking for something as utterly absurd as stat boosts for karma

- They didn't have a culture of 'find out IC' that incentivizes experimenting extensively with the code in order to find out; and while this has gotten better in recent years with things such as publicized branching lists, it's definitely still a thing here

- They didn't have wildly unbalanced combat code that rewarded knowing what one thing is far better than other seemingly (but by no means actually) comparable things that you have to find out by fucking around with the code a lot

- They didn't gate important skills behind the need to branch through extensive grinds

Armageddon has all of these things, and that encourages metagaming. This is why it's a discussion that comes up several times a year. It's something that gets in the way of roleplay, that encourages people to refrain from roleplaying, and they're flaws that more modern games have learned from. The reason Armageddon is still an active game is not because of these things, it's because it's the flagship game of the genre, the one almost everyone in the RP MUD community has played at some point. These issues are the reason it hasn't recaptured the players of all those other games that died out. Armageddon has become a game where some people don't even really roleplay, and that's because the fundamental game design massively rewards the act of metagaming instead of roleplaying. The thing that sucks the most is how demonstrably unnecessary it is for things to be that way, but around here you have to fight for a decade in order for change to even be considered a possibility.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 02:38:11 PM by Greve »

mansa

  • Posts: 9819
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2020, 05:53:44 PM »
In my opinion, the reason why characters gain skills slowly is to allow the characters to have variability in skills and stats in order to have a more random play.

...more on that later...

In my opinion, the intent is to have characters slowly progress in their skills as they play in the game, with a particular goal in mind in terms of playtime vs character prowess.

You could consider it this way:
* A 1 day warrior character should be able to kill a scrab
* A 5 day warrior should be able to kill a drov beetle and "weak gith"
* A 10 day warrior should be able to kill "strong gith"
* A 15 day warrior should be able to kill two "weak gith"
etc, etc.

There is a progression designed into the game, designed to prevent 1 day warriors from killing two "strong gith".  There's also a long term progression, designed for 40 day warriors to feel some sort of challenge when they have maximized certain skills.

Let's agree to this point, yes?
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mansa

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Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2020, 05:54:42 PM »
...Since we play this game for fun and for roleplay, we also want to win and become the best.

So I'm assuming that the largest complaint about metagaming is that the players do things with their characters in order to maximize their combat skills in order to win the next fight and have their character survive another day.  Yes?


I'm thinking about other games that have skill progression designed into it, and the most popular one I can think of is EVE online.  They have a method to prolong players into playing and to also feel like their characters have progression, and that's an offline, long time guaranteed skill gain.  I could see something being designed that way in Armageddon, where we can mark a skill to progress over time, and not have to worry about doing weird stuff as a player of the game in order to get the gains we appear to be missing out on.
I could see that happening once fighting characters reach a certain percentage of weapon skill.  We could force these characters to pick a skill that would be focused upon "offline" and would slowly progress over time.  This may be a way to prevent players from fighting x while doing a handstand while wielding y.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 06:01:42 PM by mansa »
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Delirium

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Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2020, 06:08:50 PM »
What about a combat-related script, similar to the ones in SOI, where up to a certain skill level, you can enter a command to train your skill through some form of emoted yet coded practice, similar to crafting skills, which takes x amount of minutes? Say, 5 minutes per attempt? Combat skills could require a sparring dummy as an in-room tool. It would set your ldesc for you and fire off a few emotes, and you would be expected to supplement those emotes through your own roleplay.

That way, even in an empty clan, or in areas where you otherwise can't "realistically" skill up through traditional coded means, you can still practice. To prevent no-risk master skill levels roaming around, skill tests would be set up in such a way that once you hit x cap, say high journeyman, you would need real world practice, and simply practicing on your own wouldn't do anything for you.

I think a lot of unrealistic behaviors stem from frustration that you simply can't train due to a lack of PC population, or in the case of non-combat skills, due to the location you rolled up in, and the various limitations of code vs what would virtually exist.
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Kyviantre

  • Posts: 487
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2020, 09:08:40 PM »
My favourite system that I've seen so far (anywhere), is getting some level of EXP in exchange for roleplay.  More emotes/complex speech, with more letters/words, and more unique words, gave EXP, but that was a skill-point-buy system.  It did mean that you gained -some- coded benefit from actually roleplaying, not as much as ripping through the wildlife, but it ensured that roleplaying with other people had a tangible benefit and encouraged people to play together.

It was also increased for areas with more than one person, to encourage RP in high-traffic areas (in Arm, that'd be the taverns, perhaps a central location for each clan as well kitchen/common area).

But I love my roleplay, and suck at min-maxing, so something that benefits my style of play and gives me a piece of the pie that grinders get by the handful...is something I'd consider good ;D
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Bogre

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Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2020, 01:17:56 PM »
That's a fair enough point, but my answer will be that while munchkin habits are by no means unique to Armageddon, they exist here to a degree that far surpasses other games of the same type. Here I'm talking about games like Harshlands, Shadows of Isildur, Atonement, etc. I would like to pre-emptively point out (since someone would otherwise be sure to make the claim) that while some of these games have not stood the test of time, that's not because of anything that pertains to this topic. In other words, please don't go "Game X is dead now, how could anything it did be any good?"


I'm not going to say Armageddon progression is perfect, nor that it sometimes encourages shenanigans to gain skill, but I do think that the other games mentioned doesn't necessarily have greener grass. All of those MUDs had things that worked better, and things that worked worse, but I think all of them in one way or another promoted meta-gaming for skill gain in different ways.

- Other RPIs generally don't have combat code that halts your progress at the halfway point unless you cheat

Mmmh, though I did like the combat progression system in the RPI engine, it would maybe not halt, but did scale it's difficulty terribly and make it nigh on impossible to skill without some sort of exceptional circumstances. To gain skills, you would have to do progressively harder things. Fighting multiple people, fighting while injured, maybe while starved/exhausted/etc. For example - in ARPI's beta my character Skabor was the only one to mark a skill into the Heroic (80%/100%) mark, and it took him - ~150-200 days played. He notched that skill mark fighting a really murderous monster and got KO'd - luckily he was rescued by another PC. The bottom line is it took a LOT of time to reach really lofty levels of combat skills, similar to Arm. My other 0 karma PC in SoI, who lasted from 2007-2012, only hit master in a weapon skill after like -four- years. It's possible I just didn't know how to skill there, but I had thought I was effectively capped for a long time, and for both muds it might take that long if you didn't do lots of meta stuff.

And whilst the system - do progressively crazier things for skill gains, marking skills in life-threatening situations, does seem realistic, it doesn't mean there were still meta-gamey things people would do though, in that environment. Sparring for 30 minutes on end until people were severely injured to try and bump skills, people rescuing other combatants back and forth to try and get the entire group of easy mobs biting at them to bump deflect skills (this one particularly egregious - you'd have people 'stealing' combat from you, heh). Ambushing everything to try and improve stealth, all sorts of stuff very similar and familiar to Armageddon. Training ranged weapons was nigh on impossible. The measure of a successful PC in those games, too, was more so the deflect/defensive skill - which were -EVEN HARDER- to raise, heh, and way harder than Arm. For many crafting skills, also, advancement was capped -you'd reach a certain point where you wouldn't be able to -find- a craft to even test your chance to improve.

One thing that I think was easier in the RPI engine was multi-weapon training: for one, you had an 'offense stat' that was some percentage of your other combat skills and would be substituted for a weapon you didn't have a skill in. But I don't think it made it very hard to skill, as opposed to say a 50 day warrior with super high offense having trouble finding fails with novice/apprentice chopping weapons or whatever. (Not many people cross-trained weapons, though -  because of the total skill point pool).

The existence of a total skill point pool meant people would also throw away skills to focus on more important ones- my character dropped eavesdrop (listening), brawling, and eventually stealing to focus on combat skills. Which is something thankfully not necessary in Arm. 


- Other RPIs didn't have crafting systems where 99% of recipes were useless garbage that nobody could possibly want, encouraging players to grind crafting skills up to the point where they can make one of the select few things for which there's actually some demand

Pretty right here. Those muds were highly limited by what you could make, and what would be worthwhile, in both the variable-crafting of Atonement and the fleshed out crafts of SoI, but the average crafter could get to the point of making useful stuff pretty easily. But then again - basically every combat PC in ARPI would wear the same type/class of armor, weapons, etc, without much variety. Armageddon wins in the rich variety and hidden layers to the craft system, RPI engine in ease of access. But again - oftentimes the limit in variety meant your PC couldn't ever get past 'familiar' or 'talented' crafting because you wouldn't even have a craft available to test your skill - and if you did, you'd spend 100% of your time crafting completely ridiculous widgets, or whatever, just to work on the skill. 

- They didn't have a ton of class-defining skills that were useless - sometimes borderline suicidal to use - until they were near maxed

- They didn't have classes in the first place, preferring a customized skill selection

Both true. You did feel like you were good at skills, and improving, even at skill levels 10-40, the difficulty scale just seemed different. I'm not opposed to a class system over stat picking.
 
- They didn't have skill progression systems designed to take many, many RL months to move through when playing as intended

No - try years. I mean, I wasn't the skill guru super good player or whatever so it may have taken me much longer, and the chars progressed over time, but it took my ARPI/SoI characters multiple years to get where they did and I felt there were months of stagnation in between.

- They didn't have OOC award systems (karma, RPP, what-have-you) that offered objectively superior character options with no real drawbacks, incentivizing people without those options to grind skills in order to compensate. Instead they had what Arm used to have: award options that offered different playstyles with risks, disadvantages and special obligations. Now we have "My Character Just Gets To Be Way Better" subclasses, and even people asking for something as utterly absurd as stat boosts for karma

Totally wrong, here. RPP in both SoI/ARPI would give you an objectively better character, with more potential, with little downside. SoI was way more egregious in this - your better-than-normal humans would have significantly higher stats, and thus higher skill totals and maximums, would often have skill boosts / special equipment / plot hooks. Also the aura stat which would just give you more HP and abilities, too, heh. In the case of SoI Dunadan or elves: it'd be like being given a mul with metal weapons, magick, psionics, and sweet plot hooks and also everyone would just think you're cool.

ARPI was a bit better - RPP could do enough to make your initial grind much more palatable, but not godly from the get go, and the stat improvements were generally only 1-3 points maximum more than the base characters.     


------

I think the differences, at least, are a little bit more grey than black and white. Arm certainly has things that can be frustrating - weapon skillgain prime among them, feeling like you might jank your character irrevocably if you don't train a certain way, etc. The way that some skills can actually be dangerous to use, or feel like you fail 50% of the time til you hit master, etc. But you can become survivable in Arm, and be at least on the playing field in PVE/PVP, in a shorter amount of time, it seems. It would be really hard to get a new character to the level of the front-line combat PCs in ARPI in a month, and probably nigh on impossible for them to match up unless they spent a really, really long time.

Arm PCs are also a lot more versatile, and in their own right powerful solo than in ARPI  - where like you would never even go outside or into dangerous areas without 3-4 peeps unless you were planning on just sneaking around solo safely.

Maybe there's a potential hybrid that works best (And no, it's not RPXP - no tavern sitting into combat assassin badasses, please). But I think that you could use the Armageddon class system to do a skills per PC's life that would help but not make the game broken.

Every 3 months, you'd get a bump:
Heavy combat: 3 combat skill points
Med combat: 2 combat skill points, 1 in utility
Light combat: 1 combat, 2 in utility
Craft light: 2 in utility, 1 in craft
Craft Heavy: 2 in craft, 1 in utility.

Or possibly - just the ability for every character to every 2-3 months 'improve' one skill in each category by one point. I don't think that would lead to any crazy amounts of brokenly powerful PCs - is +4-6 scattered over weapon/combats skills per year going to be game breaking?   

 


« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 01:41:08 PM by Bogre »
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LindseyBalboa

  • Posts: 120
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2020, 09:50:18 PM »
MUDs are grinding games. I've seen xp awarded solely on various forms of RP recording, and even then, people will just split off into an apartment and emote just enough to keep their RP tickers going; ie, an unrealistic grind. The far swing of the pendulum is voting for RP, which ends up a basic 'okay you were in a room with me here's a vote.' Another unrealistic grind, of just putting yourself in social situations and saying fuck it to the quality of RP.

Having to use skills to gain in them is probably the most realistic way I've seen so far for skill gains to happen. I feel like if there was a better system by now, that it would be out there somewhere and being used. That isn't to say I don't want to find it, though, and I'm new enough to RPIs (having always played hard-coded, perma-death MUXes or MUSHes) to sit back and follow this thread with interest.

Inks

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Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2020, 10:46:25 PM »
There are coded systems in place to stop people gaining benefit from spamming skills constantly. Anything more or less than what we have I would say naaaah.

Srsly.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 10:48:02 PM by Inks »
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JohnMichaelHenry

  • Posts: 210
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2020, 08:52:34 AM »
brief skills

 ;D

Seriously though, the game is not all about skills. Have I done the skill grind before? Sure I have. Mostly with crafting skills because wasting materials sucks. :)

Greve, I'm going to respectfully request that you stop implying that no true RP'ers exist on Arm. You did the same in another thread. Just because you think a certain way about needing to be relevant or whatever, doesn't mean everyone thinks the same way. There are many players who are purely here for the enjoyment of the story and good RP, and yes, you can have that without being a master at <insert skill here>.

My suggestion: Just focus on your character's story. Have motivations to do stuff and straight out of 'help roleplay'

Role-playing does _not_ mean that all you are allowed to do is have your
character sit around and talk to other characters all day. But it does mean
that the staff expect you to try to play realistically. Thus, you should
spend a fair amount of time playing out your character's occupation, but
also spend time talking to people, walking around town, dining, scavenging,
sleeping, and so on (whatever is appropriate for your character). Although
it is just a game, try to imagine yourself as your character, and act as
your character while in the game.

I've been playing a loooong time, and I have still not mastered this myself. But I'm getting a lot better at it. Have fun everyone!  8)
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AdamBlue

  • Posts: 851
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2020, 06:27:31 PM »
My favourite system that I've seen so far (anywhere), is getting some level of EXP in exchange for roleplay.  More emotes/complex speech, with more letters/words, and more unique words, gave EXP, but that was a skill-point-buy system.  It did mean that you gained -some- coded benefit from actually roleplaying, not as much as ripping through the wildlife, but it ensured that roleplaying with other people had a tangible benefit and encouraged people to play together.

It was also increased for areas with more than one person, to encourage RP in high-traffic areas (in Arm, that'd be the taverns, perhaps a central location for each clan as well kitchen/common area).

But I love my roleplay, and suck at min-maxing, so something that benefits my style of play and gives me a piece of the pie that grinders get by the handful...is something I'd consider good ;D


See, that system works fine for that particular game, because it uses an XP-based thing. That isn't Armageddon, and furthermore, having played in a system like that? It gets boring. The worst part of it is that it punishes people that play alone, that want to adventure and have fun because it hinges the entire game on being able to see someone else, and for some players that isn't what they want out of Armageddon.
You have to consider that forcing everyone to be social butterflies is not how the game should be. Do not encourage tavern-sitting behavior like so many other games fall into that trap. It's easy to just sit in the bar and hang out. People only get reward when they actually go do something, be it something safe like crafting or something dangerous like fighting.

Kyviantre

  • Posts: 487
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2020, 07:12:45 PM »
I did not suggest what I think you are suggesting I suggested (end tortured sentence!).

I am saying that...go into the wilds and kill X, or craft Y gets you 1 skill point per fail (numbers made up...obviously).  But roleplaying with people, or alone, via emote, say, talk, whisper, shout, psi, feel, think, nets you 0.001 points/hr (or per emote or whatever) if it is a solo thing (emoting in an empty room, thinks and feels), or 0.005 points/hr for ones another player sees.

Those points would go into 'the last skill you used/raised by traditional methods' - seems logical that most people will be trying to skill up a certain skill.  Or you could set it, similar to having a goal.  Or you could do it entirely at random.

I am not saying RPXP should be at ALL equal to actually doing stuff.  Just a little fluff to ease the pain of skill grind by...you know, RPing (alone or with others) on this RP game.
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DesertT

  • Posts: 896
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2020, 07:32:30 PM »
You keep on using that word.

I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Lizzie

  • Posts: 8141
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2020, 07:53:11 PM »
I did not suggest what I think you are suggesting I suggested (end tortured sentence!).

I am saying that...go into the wilds and kill X, or craft Y gets you 1 skill point per fail (numbers made up...obviously).  But roleplaying with people, or alone, via emote, say, talk, whisper, shout, psi, feel, think, nets you 0.001 points/hr (or per emote or whatever) if it is a solo thing (emoting in an empty room, thinks and feels), or 0.005 points/hr for ones another player sees.

Those points would go into 'the last skill you used/raised by traditional methods' - seems logical that most people will be trying to skill up a certain skill.  Or you could set it, similar to having a goal.  Or you could do it entirely at random.

I am not saying RPXP should be at ALL equal to actually doing stuff.  Just a little fluff to ease the pain of skill grind by...you know, RPing (alone or with others) on this RP game.

Sounds like an RP version of gemstone. You fight and kill mobs and use your skills, then go to the town square to script-beg for heals, while your experience generator timer engages. Once you've gained all your experience, you go back out spam-hunting/crafting again.

This sounds about as interesting and fun as rubbing my face against 60-grit sandpaper every day for an hour. And the #1 reason why I stopped playing gemstone.
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Kyviantre

  • Posts: 487
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2020, 08:14:12 PM »
Entirely depends on how beneficial it is.  I'm talking beneficial in the 6-12 months level, not immediately noticable on a day-to-day basis.

But doesn't matter.  I was just trying to spitball.  I can not.
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Lizzie

  • Posts: 8141
Re: Code to prevent metagaming and help promote realistic roleplay?
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2020, 10:21:28 PM »
Entirely depends on how beneficial it is.  I'm talking beneficial in the 6-12 months level, not immediately noticable on a day-to-day basis.

But doesn't matter.  I was just trying to spitball.  I can not.

That'd make it 6-12 months of spam-hunting/crafting followed by forced roleplay just so you can get that extra exp points worth of training bumps. It's the principal of the thing, not the mechanics. I don't play SoI, or Harshlands, or Gemstone, or any of the other games that I've tried and disliked. I realize that my play style will result in my not achieving skill gains as soon as most other people will. This means that people who play "harder" skill-wise, who don't play as often as I do, are likely to surpass my skill-gains with their own, sooner rather than later.

Their characters will die just as dead as mine will. And just as dead as the guy who has twice the skills they have, and just as dead as the guy who political-rp's their way to fame and fortune without using a single useful combat skill at all.

This game isn't about skill gains. They are one possible tool in a pretty big toolchest. I am one of the people who would have the greater advantage using your idea. And as someone who would absolutely benefit most from it, I'm telling you - that's how it works in other games and it is one of the biggest turn-offs to people like me - who would benefit most from it.
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.