Quantum Star SE
A recent discussion was sparked on the Astrum Futura forums regarding player retention and new player protection. It was one of those times when the discussion branched to a higher view – a wider look at how players interact on a large scale.
The current suggestions called for players to be penalised for undesireable actions, e.g. attacking a new player who is incapable of defending him/her self. This remains a long standing issue in many online games. AF could resort to enforced levelling – limited who a player can attack, and be attacked by. But this is all artificial – in the real world it’s open season on anyone.
Cyberlot (Richard) raised the question of penalising through a Karma rating. As a player attacked newcomers they would attract negative Karma marking them out to other players. I can see the rank of “Newbie Basher” emerging as an undesireable outcome for many players. But Karma while adding some measure, does not address enforcement. Exactly who enforces what and when? Who set’s the standard for interacting with other players?
From there we hit the subject of Factions. A Faction would be a specific group of players sharing a common interest. This obviously includes Races, but is also extendable to a Merchant Guild or a Pirate Clan. The point is to give players an instant group they are a member of. Now where it gets interesting in how the player and game logic would respond in the presence of Factions.
Say you have a Faction, Earth Humans United (go Terrans!). What happens if a member of this Faction attacks a new player who is joining the Earth Humans United Faction? Can’t have allies killing each other off (even if it might reflect reality ). The answer is in the Karma. Killing a new member of your own faction is stupid, damaged the Faction, and makes other players less likely to join it. That member should sur be paying tax to the Faction, which is needed. Such a player would immediately get negative Karma.
So we have Karma, and we have Factions – how do they relate?
Karma is a measure of one’s standing within a Faction. If your Karma falls below a minimal level you’ll be declared an enemy of the Faction, and then its time to start running before you’re hunted down by your peers. Where do you flee? If you’re lucky, some other Faction still has you as Neutral.
But this is where Newbie Protection get’s interesting. It’s not Faction specific – your bad Karma is classified when killing a new player as a “Stigma”. It decreases Karma for *ALL* Factions. It’s the ultimate punishment – imagine playing when nearly all the Factions refuse to grant you trade access, when your planets are penalised with “special tax charges”, when other players are unable to maintain an Alliance with you once you become Factionless (Outcast). In short, if you gain a reputation for killing new players, you’ll be kicked, booted and sent to Hell with a one way express ticket. No Admin interference or funny AI fleets required. Society will put you straight or else…
More on this later as details are worked out, but it looks like it’s a feasible and supported suggestion.
We are very close to having the Settings classes finished for Partholan. Our tests show the work to date is looking good…
Says it all really…