Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

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Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

Post by daradle on Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:30 pm

I thought I would document my experience of trying to sneak out of a town, and its consequences for how I play the game. It also shows how criminality in general has been made so impractical in-game, and so inconvenient for the player out-of-game, that something needs to change.


Here I am in Camaar, about to leave town. Notice that I am in disguise - it's not really a secret that I am in town, I've bought a bunch of food off people, and put a load of cheap iron ore on the market. I am just a totally innocent visitor trying to keep his head down...


...Oh, OK. I might have forgotten to pay my taxes...


I am 4th in the Grail Realm for Disguising, but with a 28% chance of success, getting caught is likely more often or not. Oh well. I've been punished with a huge hit to reputation in Camaar (except my reputation is already zero in Camaar - it didn't take very many failed attempts for that to happen)


Here I am, defending myself. None of that "reloading the screen" cheese for me. I retreat to escape the guard...


...but although I can escape from the guard, there is no escape from the error message. Pressing return takes me to my character page. If I try to sneak out again...


So, obvious thing first - the error message is not ideal, it would be better if the game handled a retreat from the town guard without resorting to an error message. That *might* be what looked to Aro like "simply refreshing the page" when in fact I was doing what I was supposed to - I got caught by the guard and I retreated from combat, only to be dumped into an error screen.
Secondly, my '10 minute a day game' has become a lot more impractical to play. In this case, I spent 30 minutes writing this post, so I could try two more times, but I failed both of them. So being online in game for 45 minutes isn't enough to escape town. How long am I realistically expected to be online for?
Far more annoying, though, is that I am no longer in disguise. So, not only am I penalised for 'criminality' by making the game annoying and inconvenient to play (by making me try several times over the course of a day, when I get the chance to log in for a few minutes) but it also means that I only get one shot at escaping before I am vulnerable to arrest or investigation - which compounds the problem of the inconvenience.

The deliberate addition of inconvenience to the player and the removal of 'in disguise' after the first sneak attempt makes it so much more difficult to be even slightly criminal. If I wanted to pickpocket, I could potentially get up to 15 silver, which apparently is compensation for those extra obstacles. But I don't pickpocket, I just try to skip town leaving a tax bill behind - so I just get the obstacles and no compensating benefits.

4th attempt I successfully sneaked out, an hour after I first logged in, but I was only online to try because I was so outraged at the playing experience I had just been put through that I wrote this post. Next time I won't bother - and that can't have been the intention, surely?

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Re: Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

Post by Lord Arogandor on Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:00 am

Thank you for your post and the time you spend making it Daradle!


The error message is displayed because a fight happens outside towns, but in case of fighting the town guards, you never really leave town. Which confuses the game, I'm sure I can get this solved.


I think we will need to re-think the way to handle criminals and find a way that is a healthy balance between being a criminal and being the law. The player behind the criminal might have to work and spend a little more time in-game, but it shouldn't come at a point that it is annoying.


As you are not the only player having issues with this crime chapter, let us see what possible solutions we can find to make it more enjoyable for all.

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Re: Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

Post by Axel Ackland on Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:57 am

Ahh daradle, clearly we need to get ya beefed up enough to pound on Camaar town guards ^^

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Re: Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

Post by Helfdane on Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:59 am

What solution are you wanting, daradle? As the Constable of Spero, I can tell you that if people can simply continue leaving town, with no time delays, then there might as well not even be a town jail, or a gate guard, or a Constable, because it is impossible to catch a criminal. 

What about lowering the time to 10 minutes, or 8 minutes? 

What about being able to hire a shady follower that increases your chance at disguise by 20 points?

I think from a balance perspective, and especially an RP perspective, having a waiting time before sneaking out again makes sense.

That is an impressive unpaid tax balance. You the man!

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Re: Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

Post by Lord Arogandor on Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:15 am

Helfdane got a point, with such a tax balance -money you actually had to pay- you carry quite a burden on your shoulders, which is taking you a little more then the average player.


We either keep the time restrictions/penalties or we find ourselves another way in which time no longer is a factor. But the Town Watch can't be online 24/24. Neither do I want to change the Town Watch in a ful NPC function.

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Re: Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

Post by framer on Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:26 am

I am a bit rusty on the mechanics since I'm not in my sheriff function anymore, but in daradles case there isn't actually anything the sheriff can do as far as I know? If the Gate Guard would generate a report upon catching someone attempting to sneak out of town the timed waiting would make sense, but in daradles case without any committed crimes there are no possible reports so the timer doesn't actually do anything.

Daradle wrote:The deliberate addition of inconvenience to the player and the removal of 'in disguise' after the first sneak attempt makes it so much more difficult to be even slightly criminal. If I wanted to pickpocket, I could potentially get up to 15 silver, which apparently is compensation for those extra obstacles. But I don't pickpocket, I just try to skip town leaving a tax bill behind - so I just get the obstacles and no compensating benefits.

Unless things suddenly changed a lot the last two weeks, your 67 silver of owed taxes is more compensation than ALL reported crimes from the past 2 years added together. 

If anything this example shows there need to be more options to catch tax dodgers Wink

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Re: Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

Post by daradle on Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:13 am

daradle's unpaid tax balance shouldn't translate into inconvenience for me, as the player behind the computer screen. Either it's OK for a character to avoid taxes or it isn't - if it is then the unpaid tax balance shouldn't have a bearing on how my playing experience pans out, if it isn't then remove the option to avoid tax from the game.

Making me, the player, wait 15 minutes (less whatever discount Disguising gives) per sneak attempt only helps in catching daradle if a combination of other things happen in that time - and at least part of that will purely rely on whether I am online at the same time as the constable of Camaar - if we live in different time zones that may never happen unless I fail so often that I have to quit and go to work/sleep. Otherwise there is just an inconvenience for the player for inconvenience's sake.

I actually do agree that there should be a way of catching tax avoiders - obviously the tax investigation is the mechanic through which this is possible, but only if the character is visible. The irony is that daradle's reputation in Camaar, and the cost to raise that reputation is so huge (in my mind), makes it necessary to sneak in to Camaar indefinitely now.

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Re: Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

Post by framer on Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:55 pm

What I meant was: daradle will never be caught, regardless of anything the sheriff does, since there are no reportable offenses here. In your situation the waiting time is pointless since you can try forever anyway.

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Re: Sneaking out of town: impractical for players and unfairly punishing

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