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Passivecover, NPC Warrant Mechanics, and Uber Tracking NPCs

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  • Passivecover, NPC Warrant Mechanics, and Uber Tracking NPCs

    I would like the player base's thoughts on an issue of what I believe to be poor mechanics that my character has fallen victim to.

    The first issue is the command 'passivecover'. This command sounds like a great way to fix the problem of people forgetting their faceplate in the down position, but it completely removes any possibility of human error for criminal type characters. If you forget you have it on, you could potentially have your face revealed when you're committing a crime. If you have it off, you face 4 RL day jail time if you instinctively open your faceplate when told to do so by the authorities. Meaning, if you manually do what the 'passivecover' command does automatically, it's 4 RL days of jail time. Here's an example of what that looks like IG:

    You arrive at a hallway intersection. You are facing south. You see a hallway to the north, to the east, to the south, and to the west.
    A tall guard says to you, "You'll need to uncover your face before you can stay around here."
    A tall guard escorts a man in dull bronze helmet with a featureless faceplate back outside.
    You push the faceplate up on your helmet.
    A blue-clad guard bearing a sunburst symbol moves to follow you.
    A blue-clad guard bearing a sunburst symbol, wielding an Iridine long mace, walks in from a hallway.
    You walk to a hallway, to the north.

    Disclaimer: I walked through the guards at the north entrance with the plate down and they warned me. However, from the time I got the warning to the time I opened the plate had to be less than 3 seconds because it was an instinctive "Oh shit!" reaction that triggered my shorthand macro command 'op' (Open my faceplate).

    My problem with this is that I complied. Even the guard who "escorted me out" (which he did not, as you can see by me walking north to a hallway) appeared to be wanting me to open the plate... so why wouldn't I comply?

    But, we all know the mechanics of it. We all know that we should not open our plates in the presence of the authorities. I understand that. And I know not to open my plate when I'm conducting business, but this goes back to the whole human error thing. I instinctively opened my faceplate (that's what passivecover does for you) when told to do so. I didn't want it to be down. Human error and poor mechanics caused me much more than just a 4 day sentence, as I will go on to explain.

    After being warranted, I decided I needed to go hide away somewhere to think about how/when I will submit to an NPC authority because there were things I needed to take care of before getting locked away. I ran well over 20 squares away, through pitch black conditions, and tucked myself away in a quiet corner of the gardens near the hospice. After several minutes, I see movement to the west of me, where I came from. Then, in walks a hospice guard. He began trying to arrest me and started shouting out for help. Lucky for him, there was a group very close by that heard and responded immediately. This then revealed things about my character that I did not want revealed just yet. I've heard about NPC abilities to track people all across the gameworld before, but never experienced it myself. But it is true, it does happen. After my character was exposed and sent to jail for 12 RL days, I created an alt to test this magical tracking ability that NPCs have.

    I struck a hospice guard and then ran off. Every time, the guard retraced my steps and eventually got to my location. In one test, I ran from the hospice entrance to the gardens east of the bank. After a few minutes, the guard caught up. From there, I ran to the garden entrance just north of the bank on the road to Bronze Lane. After a few minutes, the guard caught up. From there, I ran all the way along the back roads, into the tea shop (Gallicus'), continued on using the back roads to the shrine just southeast of the toga. After about 5 minutes, in strolled the guard. From there, I ran down passed the constable HQ, down the back streets to the harbor and into the casino. After a few minutes, the guard was standing outside of the casino and did not want to enter.

    The NPCs are written to cheat. There is absolutely no IG reason for the guard to be able to track your every move over such long distances.

    I can live with 4 RL days of jail time for human error that caused my guy to get warranted. It sucks, I don't agree with the mechanics, but in the end, it's not that big of a deal. The main problem I have is the mechanic in place that lead the guard to my hiding location and subsequently to my character being exposed. A character that I've had since 2003, that sure, people had their suspicions about, but nobody was ever able to confirm IG.

    I've sent in feedback about 'passivecover' before when I went through an exact same situation. I walked into a square with constables, they told me to open my plate, I did immediately... and boom, 4 RL days in jail. Not very nice.

    What is the fix for this? Anybody who says "don't play a criminal" doesn't appreciate this game for what it is. Anybody who says use 'passivecover' does not understand that if you do play a criminal, this crutch of a mechanic is going to shoot you in the foot one way or another because of the human tendency to forget.

    I'm open for discussion as to what a fix would be. I think that a time delay between when NPCs give a warning to show your face and you actually opening your faceplate would be sufficient. Because if you forget it is down and you do not intend for it to be down, you're going to be quick to open it back up once you realize it's down. Or maybe some sort of mechanic that constantly reminds you that your faceplate is down. Let's be real, in RL it is impossible to accidentally have your face covered. Maybe a simple reminder like:

    You walk to a wide dirt street, to the east.

    Through your faceplate, you see a wide dirt street. You are facing east. You see.... blah blah blah.

    That doesn't seem like it would be intolerable for someone who intentionally has it down.

    As for the mega-trackers that are NPC authorities.... that just needs to be completely re-coded. There is absolutely no reason for them to have that ability.

    I've sent in reports about this situation and am waiting to hear back from Sceadu. I've spoken to one GM in particular who felt it was better to patronize me by telling me that playing a criminal comes with risks of warrants. He also explained that no bugs were involved (my report was not a bug report and I never complained about anything being a bug) and therefore, everything remains as is. Finally, there's this:

    "I'm of the opinion that if you are not using passive cover and get warranted, then that is on you. You only have a limited amount of time to reveal yourself, so you can either run or get a warrant."

    and

    "I've given the advice before, being a criminal comes at the risk of warrants, especially when you don't comply with orders fast enough."

    and then

    "Either use passive wield or don't reveal yourself and attempt to get away. Not revealing immediately is a violation of the law.

    Which is it? Immediately? What is immediately? The first time I had this happen, I did open my plate immediately. That was an immediate 4 day jail sentence. This second time around... I opened the faceplate within 3 seconds of being told to do so. Probably within even 2 seconds. How is that not immediately enough?

    But I'm focusing too much on the initial mechanic that got me the warrant. That's not what has ruined the game play of my main character. It is the NPC ability to track and catch up that did the real damage... and that must be fixed.

    I'm getting worked up the more I think about it and talk about it, so it's best if I end this post now. I am very interested in hearing what the rest of the player base has to say about these things.

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  • #2
    Constables did that for ages for me it drove me crazy, and auto spawns milllions of minion constables
    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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    • #3
      Dahkneth got my bandit revealed a few years ago by taking an officer out near the treehouse. Passivecover ftl.
      Originally posted by urek23
      On a scale from spawning-monsters-is-an-event to three-armors-fit-in-a-sack-on-purpose, how useless am I?

      Fixed12345

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jkidd View Post
        Dahkneth got my bandit revealed a few years ago by taking an officer out near the treehouse. Passivecover ftl.
        Great example of how having it on can kick you in the ass. Fortunately, Sceadu actually cares and shared with me that he did not like the passive cover command from its beginning. He's already implemented a suggestion of mine with the following:

        ------------------------------- Sceadu (@paste) -------------------------------
        You arrive at a wide cobblestone street. A constable is here. You are facing
        north. You see a river walk to the north; a wide cobblestone street to the east
        and to the west; and a white-washed door to a two-story white stucco building
        with a red band of paint around its middle, a red tile roof and supporting
        columns along its front to the south.
        Your face is covered.
        The sky is mostly obscured by clouds. The air is absolutely still. The air is
        warm.
        e
        You arrive at a wide cobblestone street. You are facing east. You see a wide
        oversized door to a low windowless timber structure to the north; a wide
        cobblestone street to the east and to the west; and the front yard of an inn
        and a small wooden gate to the south.
        Your face is covered.
        e
        You arrive at a wide cobblestone street. You are facing east. You see a wide
        cobblestone street to the east and to the west; and a wagon yard to the south.
        Your face is covered.
        push my hood
        You push a black leather hooded trench coat back from around your face and head.
        e
        You arrive at a wide cobblestone street. You are facing east. You see a wide
        cobblestone street to the north and to the west; a finely carved oak door
        bearing a bronze plaque to the east; and a forum paved with large flagstones to
        the south.
        e
        You arrive at a tidy shop. Floralie is here. You are facing east. You see an
        arch to the north, a gathering area to the east, and a finely carved oak door
        bearing a bronze plaque to the west.
        ---------------------------------- + Finis + ----------------------------------

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        • #5
          Shizdain was finally caught after several months of EotR because of a homing constable that followed him all the way from the steps to a random hallway in the colosseum. Thought he was fine, fell asleep, woke up in jail

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          • #6
            Good ol' TEC constables...

            A woman in a shiny boison helmet with an absurdly tall dome says to a ram in Cineran, "Oh yes, hit me now, you bad bad bad sheep."
            A woman in a shiny boison helmet with an absurdly tall dome is stunned.
            A ram bumps roughly into a woman in a shiny boison helmet with an absurdly tall dome with its head!.


            “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer... because it teaches you how to think.” - Steve Jobs

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            • #7
              Take this with a grain of salt, and not as an insult or trolling or whatever other negative you want to take it as: There should be no remedy for human error. If you admit to human error, deal with the consequences. Remedy for mechanical error sure, and you got that with the "your face is covered" every time you move around. You can escape from npc lawkeepers, it's just harder than going half a block away, I've done it. But once you're warranted, new ones will pop up and give chase if you do escape, and then come back.

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              • #8
                A fun game is seeing how many constables and soldiers and how far you can drag them
                "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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                • #9
                  Thumbs up on the change

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ArchMagi View Post
                    Take this with a grain of salt, and not as an insult or trolling or whatever other negative you want to take it as: There should be no remedy for human error. If you admit to human error, deal with the consequences. Remedy for mechanical error sure, and you got that with the "your face is covered" every time you move around. You can escape from npc lawkeepers, it's just harder than going half a block away, I've done it. But once you're warranted, new ones will pop up and give chase if you do escape, and then come back.
                    There should be no remedy for human error that is not created by poor mechanics. I agree with that. The fact that the game did not have a way to constantly remind you that your plate is down, it created situations like the one I was in. Sure, we can all live with poor mechanics and adapt to them... but doing that creates situations where human error becomes a factor when we can easily implement actual mechanics that remove the game-created error factor. I fully understand that it is bad to open your plate in front of a lawkeeper. I fully understood that before this situation happened. I constantly ran through constable checkpoints with my faceplate intentionally down. In those situations, I am in the mindset that it is down and therefore was not in a panic-open-upon-realizing-it-is-down situation. But when I do not remember that it is down, that is a different story. This happened to me twice. The first time was after a long hiatus and I came back after passivecover was introduced. I did not know how it worked, I just knew what I saw mechanically - Soandso with their plate down walks in, constables yell at them to reveal their face, they do... they all lived happily ever after. So the first time I ran into that situation, I did that. I walked into a constable checkpoint, I got yelled at to reveal my face, I did so instantly (panic-open situation), I got warranted and put in jail. I complained to the GMs about that, I think. The exact same thing happened again the other day. The mechanics were poor and -created- the human error factor that should not exist.

                    As for running from NPCs, I don't think you understand what I am saying. No NPC is capable of arresting me if I don't want them to. I have no problems getting away from them. Also, running across all of Iridine is a lot farther than half a block... and that's just my situation. Other people have had Monlon Vigiles track them all the way to Iridine. Some people have had lawkeepers show up at their Inn room doors and even try to open the door to get in. This point was that it is unrealistic and cheating. I did not know that they had homing devices. I got away from the guard INSIDE the hospice and ran into the gardens, through pitch black conditions. A few minutes later, he walked in and started trying to arrest me. Realizing that he couldn't, he yelled. That was it, game over because of the proximity of PCs that came to his aid and exposed my character. Getting away from him was not the issue. It was the unrealistic ability to track and subsequent bad luck of having someone nearby.

                    TL;DR - Human error created by poor mechanics got me a 4 day jail sentence, no big deal... just annoying. Just plain bad mechanics got me exposed and an additional 8 days of jailtime... kind of a very big deal to me. This sucks, plain and simple.

                    But, it is what it is and I'm not upset, especially since my concerns have been validated and addressed.
                    Last edited by Metharus; 10-09-2018, 07:49 AM.

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                    • #11
                      I think we should have tok warrant people and see how far we can get them like fran or rock valley
                      "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jkidd View Post
                        Dahkneth got my bandit revealed a few years ago by taking an officer out near the treehouse. Passivecover ftl.
                        Likely not me. Dahk hadn't been a legionary since probably 2005, so no access to dragging an officer along. Treehouse wasn't really ever his haunt either. Not saying it didn't happen, but I don't remember ever using that method to out anyone, particularly since I preferred playing criminals myself.

                        That aside, I wholeheartedly agree that the heatseeking NPCs are bs and that there needs to be some major changes to make being a criminal more viable.
                        "You don't need to kill him or anything. Just give 'im something to think about on the way to surgery."

                        "Any day you have to take a bath and go to bed early isn't a day off in -my- book."

                        "We've got to contend with vortexes and light speeds! Anything could go wrong! Of course we need to wear goggles!"

                        - Calvin and Hobbes

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                        • #13
                          "Heat seaking god status law keeping NPCS are super balanced" - GMs probably
                          I've been screwed over by constable NPC mechanics and complained more times than I can count

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                          • #14
                            Were I developing the the code for following NPCs. I would set a small failure chance for each room moved into. I would have the failure chance increase with each room.
                            Perhaps depending on the time for the project I would make it fun; grasslands and snow decrease the failure chance, crowded city streets add to the increasing failure rate.
                            In short, a constable with a GPS tracker is not acceptable for this time frame.

                            A player should lose RP for using a constable to autoremove a mask. A clever trick yes, but it is abuse of a gam mechanic.

                            I have mixed feelings about a player waking up in jail. The trouble being, you don't want people to be able to fall asleep and make that part of the escape.

                            Masks are not allowed in civilization. It is just the law of the land.
                            What is a better solution than passivecover? Are you suggesting more time to allow for removing the mask is all?

                            For law abiding citizens, it would be nice to have a helmet that protected the face without hiding your identity. Perhaps nose or cheek guards on the helmet. Make it a Behlrad item would allow a bit of balance.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Launrentinus View Post
                              Were I developing the the code for following NPCs. I would set a small failure chance for each room moved into. I would have the failure chance increase with each room.
                              Perhaps depending on the time for the project I would make it fun; grasslands and snow decrease the failure chance, crowded city streets add to the increasing failure rate.
                              In short, a constable with a GPS tracker is not acceptable for this time frame.

                              A player should lose RP for using a constable to autoremove a mask. A clever trick yes, but it is abuse of a gam mechanic.

                              I have mixed feelings about a player waking up in jail. The trouble being, you don't want people to be able to fall asleep and make that part of the escape.

                              Masks are not allowed in civilization. It is just the law of the land.
                              What is a better solution than passivecover? Are you suggesting more time to allow for removing the mask is all?

                              For law abiding citizens, it would be nice to have a helmet that protected the face without hiding your identity. Perhaps nose or cheek guards on the helmet. Make it a Behlrad item would allow a bit of balance.
                              There are caged faceplates that protect the face without concealing identity. I believe you can get them in Bronze Lane.

                              Otherwise, agreed on the programming. I tried making a new character so I could test these mechanics out a bit with the constables, but I was completely unable to get him away from the constables long enough to actually run about a month or two ago. There is a bit of a problem with the way they're balanced, because while some of the top tier characters in the game can still laugh at them (I think? I dunno, it doesn't seem like any of us are happy with how tough they are now), there are still going to be a lot of lowbie and midbie characters that are utterly destroyed by the NPC constables.

                              I think what many people are saying is that it's become rather difficult to be a criminal. If you walk around with your faceplate on, you'll get stopped by NPC constables coming out of the crowd and forcing you to stop from time to time. Then they'll track you down efficiently no matter how far you run, how fast, or what the conditions were. Making it conditional on weather/lighting/crowd mechanics seems like that'd be overkill. Just toning it down so that there is a general cap on the range they're willing to venture would be nice. Eventually the constable would think "I was assigned to that area back there, and I've been chasing this guy for petty theft for a mile throughout the City while my post has been abandoned. It wasn't murder, I need to get back to my job."

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