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Favor

Discussion in 'Project: Gorgon Discussion Hall' started by Dwonga, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Dwonga

    Dwonga Visitor

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    I'm not really having fun with the favor system right now. I feel that not only does it take too much time to give gifts (due to not being able to give stacks of gifts and having to click give gift, drag the item and click again each time you want to give a gift), but it seems like giving gifts and performing favors is such an artificial way to make someone like you.

    It seems more in tune with reality that as long as a person isn't a complete jerk that over time people will gradually like them more regardless of what they are doing directly for them. Only becoming friends with someone when they do favors for you or give you gifts seems so cartoonishly mercenary that is certainly shouldn't be the standard for character interaction. I suggest that merely existing in the same area as an NPC and doing anything generally beneficial (killing evil creatures, collecting items, talking, etc) should raise their favor by some differing amount based upon how the NPC feels about that particular action, i.e. Ivyn likes when a character farms more than when they kill skeletons. Of course doing something an NPC feels is detrimental to them should lower their favor.

    I guess the discussion really is: How do you feel about the way relationships with NPCs are currently handled?
     
  2. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer
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    Funny you should mention that. My original design had it so you could only do favors or give gifts at a fixed rate -- especially gifts, you could only give one a day or something like that. The point being that you needed to keep coming back, which I think would help with the plausibility factor. Then you can hand-wave it a bit: you've been stopping by and chatting for weeks and bringing little tokens, and now they want to do something nice in return.

    However, I haven't implemented any timer limits because A) I'm not sure if the annoyance outweighs the benefits and B) it would make testing a lot slower!

    But anyway, I'm definitely interested in hearing other suggestions of how friendship with NPCs can work. The catch is there are two requirements.

    First, it needs to be an intentional act, not just something you happen to do (or were going to do anyway). You shouldn't be surprised to find somebody's become a better friend because you killed a hundred goblins and they happen to hate goblins.

    Second, it needs to be clear enough that you can plan to do it. So I want people to be able to say "I want to be friends with Bob, so I can do X, Y, or Z" as opposed to thinking "I seem to be becoming friends with lots of people for some reason... hope Bob becomes my friend soon!" (I guess actually this is kind of the same as the first point.)

    That's why I ended up with favors and gifts, because they meet those gameplay needs. But like I said, I'd love to have a few more ways to do it!
     
    #2 Citan, Apr 18, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  3. Finkum

    Finkum Visitor

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    Some random ideas to mix things up, hopefully without making the system too annoying:

    1) Vary each NPC's list of liked gift items over time. If you hand in a ton of <item x>, then maybe the NPC goes from loving <item x> to merely liking it, or even having it drop out of the list entirely for a while. Maybe a new type of item pops up in the list; maybe it doesn't. After <random time> the item appears in the list again. This produces a sort of natural cap on how much favour you can get at any one point in time, hopefully without making it too much like a daily quest where you hand in n <item x>'s each day for a set amount of rep. I suspect doing this per-player-character would be the way to go, as it would be annoying to rock up to Bob, see he loves Mantis Claws, go farm a bunch and then come back to find that Claws have fallen out of his list because other players have handed a heap in while you were off farming.
    2) NPCs could belong to groups (the association(s) would need to be explicit to satisfy Citan's second requirement), and giving a gift or completing a quest for a NPC could reward small amounts of rep to everyone in the group, as well as the normal amount just for that particular NPC. If you help out Bob then his friends and neighbours should probably feel more kindly disposed toward you too! The associations could be simple (everyone in Serbule is a member of the one group) or more complex (gaining rep with the elves in Serbule reduces your standing with Sir Coff, unless the elf is Rita. Gaining rep with Mushroom Jack has a lesser group-positive effect than gaining rep with Blanche). More complex associations would be difficult to represent, and it would be easy to accidentally lose rep with someone unintentionally; also, this could lead to there being "one right way" to rep up with a group for maximum efficiency, so I'm not sure the added realism would be worth the costs.
    3) Implement the ability to invite a NPC to travel with you. You can only have 1 NPC travel with you at a time, and I guess you'd have to make it so that for other players the NPC is still at his or her original location, just not visible to you, and conversely they either can't see or at least can't see the name of the "copy" of the NPC that is travelling with you. While the NPC is accompanying you get favour for doing "stuff" and they could provide some sort of minimal benefit (not enough to compete with "proper" pets/companions), with the benefit dependent on the NPC. For example, if you invited the fire mage NPC to travel with you, she'd be pleased if you killed things using Fire Magic and occasionally she could offer a tip that manifests as a buff that makes your next fire magic ability do extra damage, or cost no power, or what have you. You'd probably want to make it so that, while they are accompanying you, you can't sell things to vendor NPCs as otherwise it becomes a convenience thing where you just invite Yetta to travel with you everywhere :p I'm guessing this option would be a lot of development work!
     
  4. Dwonga

    Dwonga Visitor

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    What's your reasoning for having those two requirements? The second one I understand - if you want to be friends with a specific person you want to be able to target that friendship, but I don't understand why needing the act to be intentionally targeted to generate friendship is a requirement. It seems odd that if Coth asks me to protect the town by killing 8 skeletons I'll become a better friend with him, but if I choose to kill skeletons to protect the town of my own free will he won't care.

    Let's imagine this scenario: There are two competing groups of settlers fighting over the same resources, you come in and wipe one of them out merely because you came upon them first. What makes more sense - that the remaining tribe thanks you profusely for wiping out their competition, or that they don't care at all because they didn't ask you to do it first?

    Now, it doesn't make too much sense to come back from hunting goblins and find that the entire town is now your best friend.... actually, why wouldn't it? In their mind the goblins are an ever present threat to their safety and they have no hope against them, you come in a kill hundreds of them showing them that they don't need to fear those creatures while you're around. It makes sense that they would revere you as a hero, and it doesn't matter if your intention was just to practice your swordplay your actions still had the effect of changing the town's way of life for the better.

    If you replace hunting goblins with chopping wood, then yes it wouldn't make sense for the whole town to suddenly think you're a hero for chopping wood all day long.

    I think the answer would be to cap the favor that could be gained by each interaction - chopping wood would get you to friends level with a woodsman, but only to acquaintance level with normal townspeople. Killing goblins would get you to close friends, but wouldn't get you to best friends.
     
  5. Luka Melehan

    Luka Melehan Certifiable
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    the favors i don't mind, they can implement thier own problems and personalities.. But the gifting always bothers me. I don't like the idea of buying friendships. I don't know how developed you've made NPC personalities, but what if you built up conversation with results depending on which direction the player takes it. I am not thinking dark and light choices, like in TOR. more like a story with multiple endings.
     
  6. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer
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    Dwonga - It's not about realism, because there I agree with you. The reason it needs to be a specialized goal is that it's the main content of the game. So it needs to be something you specifically focus on. If you automatically become friends with people by doing the same stuff that levels up your skills, then the "right" way to play would be to level your skills, kill monsters, and eventually the NPCs take care of themselves. That makes them not content, just rewards.

    It's not bad to give rewards like that, but then the Favor system is super overkill. I might as well just tie their rewards to a specific skill or stat (e.g. you get the woodcutter reward when you hit carpentry 30, or raise your faction vs goblins to 20, or whatever), and be done with it.

    I don't want them to just be rewards for regular play, though. They're supposed to be their own kind of goal.

    Luka - I want to add some talk trees to every NPC eventually, but I can't really make a ton of talk tree options, they just take too long to write, code, and debug. So talk trees have to be more of a flavor thing, rather than a main part of the game.
     
    #6 Citan, Apr 18, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  7. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer
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    (I'll actually have a faction system like this and use it in a few places, for instance if you're an elf visiting an orc camp, you'll be Despised with them until you raise your overall faction score, then you can befriend them individually. But that's more the exception than the rule.)
     
  8. Dwonga

    Dwonga Visitor

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    The "right" way to play right now is to level your skills, kill high level monsters to collect high level loot to give to NPCs. The only difference is you have to collect loot and drag it back to the NPCs.

    I'm not saying get rid of favors and gifts, just that there should be some form of "un-official" favors, such that if an "official" favor to kill 8 skeletons in the graveyard nets you 50 points, and "un-official" favor where you choose to kill 8 skeletons would net you 5 points with that character and maybe 1 point with everyone else in the same zone provided you didn't hit their cap and they appreciate the destruction of skeletons.
     
    #8 Dwonga, Apr 18, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  9. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer
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    Well, that's why we're looking for other new ways to raise favor :) But to clarify intent: right now gifts are almost entirely open-ended, and everyone likes almost any kind of gift. That's temporary. Eventually you won't get much favor by giving a magic book to a swordsman, say. He just doesn't care much, no matter how valuable it is. The point is to make you watch for specific stuff, depending on who you're trying to befriend. Sometimes that's easy, like a guy who likes magic armor, and sometimes it's almost a quest in itself, like the person who only likes unusual fish eggs from the bottom of the ocean.

    So anyway, I didn't mean to bash your idea, because I think it's fine. Sure, killing/collecting stuff around town could help you get to Comfortable level more easily. No problem with that.

    What else ya got? :) I'd love to get a sort of brainstorming session going if people have other ideas.

    For instance, I can easily add more skills that are specifically for befriending NPCs. Like, I dunno, Juggling. Certain NPCs really like watching you juggle, and you can get a bit of favor just by standing there juggling.

    Eh, that's too passive. How about a Con Man skill: some NPCs are gullible and you can Con them into being your friend. (Maybe it's a minigame of some sort?) But if you screw up, they'll tell their friends about you and the gig is up, so you have to be careful who you choose to con.

    Eh, not a particularly fun idea. But you get the point: there's lots of systems that would fit my two criteria up there. I've just implemented the most obvious ones so far.
     
  10. Dwonga

    Dwonga Visitor

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    Of course I didn't take any offence to your criticisms, and I didn't mean to sound defensive I just wanted to get a clear understanding of your objections as well as your objectives and reasoning.

    For other ideas let's look at other games to see how they handle friendship/reputation to see if we can get any ideas from them first:

    Skyrim: Quests, charms, town reputation, global reputation
    Fable: Give people thumbs up until they fall in love with you, appearance modifiers based on armor choice/moral background, etc.
    Harvest Moon: Gifts, Talking over time, event results/taking part in events with specific people
    KOTOR: Quests, talk trees, choosing actions that correspond with the character's moral alignment.
    Bumpy Trot: Gifts, Dates, Conversations, Room decor
    Outrun: Driving really fast, drifting around corners, and near death situations make the ladies go wild.
    Persona: Conversation trees, events, dates, adventuring with them, quests

    Were any of those mechanics actually fun?

    Everything seems to boil down to either a story extension, a grind, or meaningless.

    The exception is Outrun. Implement cars immediately IMHO.
     
  11. Luka Melehan

    Luka Melehan Certifiable
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    I am at my son's house for the weekend and I haven't shown him the game yet (he is playing Infamous atm) but he brought up the faction system in AC2, that he really enjoyed that. To your credit AC2 is the only MMO I have ever got him to play with me and it is largely due to the skill system.

    I think about Skyrim and Oblivion, love those games. Harvest Moon is annoying about the gifting. I think the only reason to do it is to get the girl. Am enjoying SWTOR though starting to have issues with the gal I play with cause she wants to let live the people that might be useful later, where as my philosophy is: The enemy of my enemy is still rebel scum.

    Looking at the Rune Factory version of Harvest Moon, the characters were interesting enough that you could pick a favorite to want to court. However, your lucky to figure out anything without a walkthrough guilde. In Skyrim you adventured with characters with stories that could become your spouse. You pick the ones you have fun with within the type of character you are playing. You actually become attached to them. Same with companions in SWTOR. I know we are not talking about implementing relationships of that type with NPCs. Do we want NPCs we can adventure with? Are they eventually going to be more fluid like in Skyrim, moving around and having lives? Or will they basically stay put? (except for the shirtless elf in Serbule)

    I am a role player at heart. An MMO that I can RP in is what I would enjoy. So I would like some mechanism for making the NPCs more like believable people. like or dislike them, talk me into thier cause. I would like it to be more personal than 'if i gain this factions favor I can get thier special mount'
     
  12. Luka Melehan

    Luka Melehan Certifiable
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    Fable!! I forgot about that one. I didn't like the physical appearance modifiers. I enjoyed the game as long as I didn't take it seriously. Having a wife in every port wasn't enough I had a couple. Funny stuff. I have a friend adopted all the kids and placed them all in the merc camp.