How the ”Plot wheel” broke, and the “Winner mentality” took over



  • @solarfall said in How the ”Plot wheel” broke, and the “Winner mentality” took over:

    Why do we need the Raznor buff thing anyway?

    It removes a chance for more PC interaction, get a player to buff you if you need it.

    For play zones with few players to give them an edge. Only people then turned to Raznor for EVERY quest.

    Quests aren't really balanced for slaughter people at high levels. At least, not when I design them. However, say a quest pays out in the 8-12 level range about 1000 gold total. Raise dead costs how much? If you die enough that that raise or true resurrection isn't setting you back entirely, you're still progressing in treasure; I want high level quests dangerous enough that a death sets you back, but not so dangerous they come every time you do the quests. It should be dangerous enough that sometimes you just are out-matched and die (sometimes being like 1 out of 20 runs, not 1:1).

    Yes, on low level quests, risk of death is pretty low. That's by design.

    On mid level quests, the risk of death is there, should be there--but we don't want it to be regular, we want it to be clearly from just bad luck.



  • That is a very valid point Moloch. I do not think we should entirely ignore the EXP penalty at higher levels might play a factor also. If you die on a low level quest, it will take you about an hour to regain the exp loss from a respawn. You can get back a level 6, 7 or 8 within a day or two of questing, without trying too hard even. However, due to the exp penalty, you need to do ALOT of quests to regain the loss of EXP, even from a raise. I would imagine that the "setback" from EXP makes people optimize more, as they are in much better control of whether they die or not from a scripted quest. I know the argument is "but people leveled so fast" previously, which is a valid point.

    In regards to some of these things, I think it is a good mix of server design and mentality. If the overall mentality, at least in the past, was as @Thune stated, "Mechanical power basically drove everything." Most DM quests were meant to be challenging, and catered to the top tier, so everyone rushed to be as high level, and as powerful as possible. This means that you use Raznors and the shield + Bark combo, because it minimizes your "costs pr quest". You use it, because it is there. Which in turn became "It is always used, so we must balance accordingly".

    My suggestion, would be to help players focus more on the journey. I think it is at LEAST 2 years ago since I saw a low level quest being spiced. And it is AT LEAST 4 years ago, that I saw or witnessed my last DM quest catering to NON high levels.

    I would suggest MUCH more of this. DM plots with quests and events, that do not target level 10+ players. Where The high levels can hire retainers, or minions to represent them, while not being actively involved.
    For instance, you need to be rather powerful to hunt beholders, for the spark of Divinity, or defeat the White Worm Cult (only two dm plots I have been engaged in with my last character).

    But investigating a mad kobold cult, or fight a growing goblin army? Not that high level.

    Help people slow down, by not yourselves focusing on the absolute top tier of the power range. I know for a fact, that if a cool plot usually discouraged level 8+ characters from taking part was being run, I would make sure I did not become level 9, so I could participate.



  • @o-louth said in How the ”Plot wheel” broke, and the “Winner mentality” took over:

    DM plots with quests and events, that do not target level 10+ players. Where The high levels can hire retainers, or minions to represent them, while not being actively involved.

    I mean...this is how I run plots these days. This is how I run plots as a player. Hell, the stuff I have people doing isn't even level-locked content necessarily. Of course, I also don't have a reliable income to pay them with, so I have to get creative...but hey, that's part of the game!


  • Storyteller [DM]

    We can’t run low level dm quests when no one is below leve 8 of 15 players online. It doesn’t take people very long to level up at all. But I spiced a gilmor loot this weekend and gave custom loot.

    Also, as a DM, I don’t care what levels people are. As long as they aren’t throwing weight around in an OOC manner and keeping things fun.


  • Admin [DM]

    Don't hanging out with players doing just RP count as a low level event? 😛



  • Things that are resolved by:

    • More DM time
    • More player pop
    • Server balance (item/power bloat)

    ...are all a bit beyond the scope of any of this really. The whole barkskin/shield discussion was had already and slated to be addressed with V6 because it requires a rebuild rather than a bandage.



  • --sorry deleted, I think I started to post that in the quest thread and then it got out of hand and I moved it here and when I re-read even I didn't care what I had to say. --



  • Compared to when i started on CoA it's improved noticeably. Particularly around the time Strife and Spiffy were added as DMs. Player ethics and sportsman behavior has steadily improved. Stories have had more personal impact.

    However, there is this weird mentality that persists where players want to be combat badasses without mastering the mechanics. A weaponmaster concept for example had to kick ass and 'win' by definition or they are not a master. That does not mean everything involves mechanics to contribute, but do not expect to earn certain perks without knowing the system. Particularly for combat themed concepts.

    The mechanics of NwN are the only objective way of choice determination. If character A wants to stab character B, they roll dice to have an objective and impartial mediation of the result. Therefore, in order to have the determining choice, players should know the mechanics! The OOC chat is a great resource for this. No excuse to not go and learn mechanics.

    Otherwise, yeah, in certain aspects the hypothetical player will be gimped. The weirdest mentality I tend to encounter is this belief that a purposefully weak build is somehow 'better' for role-playing. Which is ridiculous. Because this is an RPG after all.The most talked about players incorporate all aspects of the RPG into their characters.

    Mechanics has it's place along with plot contribution and creativity.



  • In some ways a weak character is better for RP. Dropping Str/dex/con to increase wis/int/char because you want to be more effective at x,y,z non combat roles or just better strategist, etc.

    People not roleplaying their stats in a completely different subject though.

    But yes I agree that just because you gimp your character build you should not expect ooc sympathy or rewards. But this comes down to players thinking too much about what others are doing. Only DMs can see character sheets and they are probably too busy to be looking at them all the time. So you don't really know.



  • Learning the mechanics and chucking stoneskin/speed potions by quickslotting then to F11 and F12 to win the day is so easy in the end if you want to try it. Discord is full of people who can help if you want to learn the basics of mechanics.

    Making a Gimpy character on purpose takes balls. And as it happens, telling a good story usually takes balls as well. Using mechanics to ensure a victory however, is not ballsy. So if I was to bet on who will do a better story between a powerbuild that's expected to steamroll everything and a gimpy character that will likely make an utter mess out of himself- would have to go for the gimpy character every time.

    Why? Because if it looks like that dude is not thinking about what potion he should use to counter whatever mindblowing hell his opponent is about to unleash, then it usually meant he is thinking more about how to make the story better at the time. When his focus is not on getting an upper hand on the mechanics to get t3h win, I know he is a dude that prefers to be ballsy and is willing to take risks for the sake of an epic tale.

    That is why people with gimpy characters got rewarded more often than the stronger ones in the past. Because the DMs were on the look out for the storytellers, not steamrollers. That doesn't mean steamrollers can't tell a story. It's just, when their focus is on just winning the next encounter, they focus less on the memorable story itself, and more on just hacking and slashing to survive till the next hack and slash.

    So if I was still a DM and I was on the look out for a good story, my point of focus wouldnt be on who steamrolls my DM quest the easiest, but on dudes who visibly exposes their characters weaknesses, who make an effort to cause waves and allow people an easy access to retaliate and create conflict with the guy. In the end, I agree that we should not reward losers, but the real winners- and the winners are the ones who are here to make the most epic of storylines for us all to enjoy.



  • Things I would like to see for CoA that would lessen the need for "win" mentality, and lessen the need to grind.

    1. Not having pvp determine plotlines.

    2. Respawnin/getting raised from pvp becoming more common so people cant kill problems with other pcs away.

    3. Move towards more cooperative storytelling in practice instead of just using it as a catchphrase of the more mecchanically skilled player dictating to others what happens, and demanding they accept it under guise of "cooperative storytelling.

    4. Keeping permdeath events rare, and only for key events in monumental dm plots.

    Those 4 things alone would help alot

    So long as pvp determines plots it will result in a win mentality and grinding and powergaming. Same if permdeath events are frequent. My issue with permdeath, is the same as with pvp determining player plots. It shifts the focus from storytelling, and roleplaying to mechanics. And the story that wins out is the story backed by the most mechanical power, and ooc mechnical skill. As long as that is the reality, the issue will continue to exist.



  • PvP doesn't (read shouldn't perhaps, I haven't actively dmed for a while, but this IS LITERALLY what the DM team collectively agreed to) resolve plotlines.

    It can be an element though of course.

    Killing other player characters doesn't mean they are permanently dead.
    This is literally a rule. You can get raised. You can respawn. There is nothing wrong with this.

    What IS a problem, is if you respawn, and immediately start trying to kill/destroy the folk who just MURDERISED you. You were just killed. Death is a terrible experience you do not want to feel again.

    So that's one and two covered savn me ol pal.



  • PvP doesn't (read shouldn't perhaps, I haven't actively dmed for a while, but this IS LITERALLY what the DM team collectively agreed to) resolve plotlines.

    It can be an element though of course.

    Killing other player characters doesn't mean they are permanently dead.
    This is literally a rule. You can get raised. You can respawn. There is nothing wrong with this.

    What IS a problem, is if you respawn, and immediately start trying to kill/destroy the folk who just MURDERISED you. You were just killed. Death is a terrible experience you do not want to feel again.

    So that's one and two covered savn me ol pal.



  • I admit I have only just returned after nearly a year break, but what i've kept abreast of, at least things like divine marches are determeined soley, or almost soley through pvp in a final fight, regardless of actual build up. With permdeath enforced. If I am wrong in this, I appologies for implying things that are no longer a reality.



  • @Savn

    With regards to divine marches, I don't think you just come out the gate swinging your divine march. There's build-up to it. It's not something that's going to surprise either party. At least, that's how I think it is? Maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.



  • PvP Divine Marches are fairly rare. There's been about 2 in the entire Silence thing which has been going on for 2 or so years. There's generally build up and warnings before the event it's permadeath so if you want to avoid it you can



  • @Savn

    There was a pretty big discussion about this already I think, and I don't want to detract from the awesome Team Bane who brought a lot of decent PvP excitement to the server. However they too just became completely overshadowed by their mechanical chops, and people in OOC talked more about the difficulty of beating them red-till-dead rather than the many intrigue plots they were generating on the server.

    So to the people concerned that this is a witch-hunt for anyone who enjoys the (very fun) mechanical aspects of D&D games: that's not what this is about.

    The concern is more centered around how significant mechanical power (note, not skill, but levels/consumables) is perceived to be. Absolutely in the Divine March Team Bane had earned their reward through storytelling and involvement, but the idea that Team Tempus could have won with more mechanical power certainly left an impression. It was also a perfectly appropriate climax for two fairly mechanically minded factions.

    People keep going on about how being powerful allows you to control the combat, to ensure the story is a fulfilling one for all. This is part of the problem too - the idea that the guy on the other end has no influence but that which you allow them (with notably, no ability on their part to enforce the same) is not in any way healthy for the idea of cooperative storytelling.

    The guys who are capable of reaching high levels and loot are not pulling down the community, they're some of our best RPers/Storytellers and often are where they are because they've played NWN/CoA for a really long time. But like Team Bane, it's too easy to see everything else as insignificant next to the mechanical power to choose whether you win or lose a fight, whether against another player or an NPC.



  • And they were epic, really fun/cool events with lots of build-up and people choosing sides, I think they were well deserving the rewards they got.


  • Storyteller [DM]

    I was team bane’s enemy number 1 and I had zero issues with their mechanical power, even knowing that they were going to cream us. Sometimes being able to do what’s best for a good story means throwing caution to the wind.

    That said, I recognize not all of our players feel this way. Like I have said many times before, the CoA calling card is to cater to as many different styles of play as possible, which I truly aspire to achieve on my end.



  • I’ve destroyed mechanical superpowers behind the scenes with intrigue and storytelling. I wasn’t even in game the time they fell because the events I helped put into motion came to fruit in a DM event a few days later. You CAN defeat a superior enemy with RP and intrigue without ever having to cross blades with them. I’ve seen it happen, it’s happened to me, and I’ve done it to people. Mechanics and sheer combat power only wins every time if that’s the only mindset you have too.


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