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The Poop Wars!

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Post by Lord Arogandor Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:20 am

Dear Seekers,

Lately you might have noticed fellow Seekers stripping the streets of your town from any poop. Using their staff to shovel all the dung they can find, wrap it in a fancy looking package and send it to others! It comes to little surprise that receiving and opening such a package isn't going to make you very happy and it's smell make people avoid you all together for a while...

Because of this some Seekers contacted me, asking for interference in this escalating poop war.

As an admin, I try not to interfere with proper (though smelly) in-game Seeker interactions that doesn't break any of the rules. Having a certain amount of drama in the Realm gives Seekers something to talk and discuss about. I already see how new alliances are forged and how people push their limits to find original solutions to counter any negative effects. Taking this away will only make our Realm more dull.

The rumors that I leave negative popularity in the game because it requires Grail Tokens is pure nonsense! Based on the Grail Tokens spend on negative popularity gifts and taking in account that about 50% of the Grail Tokens entering the Realm comes from purchases, it's fair to say that I earned about 125 euro in the past 10 years from these gifts.

I'm in favor of keeping these negative gifts is because it one of the few ways currently available to influence the life of other Seekers in a negative way. I believe that in The Grail Lords there should be room for such actions, for criminals, vile creatures and evil personages. Although it is a constant challenge to find a healthy balance between crime and justice, the dark side does adds something extra into our Realm that I don't want to give up on.

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Lord Arogandor
Lord Arogandor
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Number of posts : 2860
Location : Somewhere around the Grail Monastery
Registration date : 2008-09-19

http://www.thegraillords.net

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Post by Testudo Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:13 pm

Negative events as part of the game is a design choice which I will not attack here.

Having negative events continuously targeted at one player however is something that could be discouraged. Compare it to real life, where you can call or visit any person. But when you call or visit that person too often, it is called 'stalking' and that would not be allowed.

I suppose when pickpocketing was changed to target a random player in town, that this was also done to prohibit targeting same (rich) player all the time.

Unlike pickpocketing, sending a positive/negative gift should of course still be targetable a single person. So here are a few alternative suggestions for discouraging repeatedly negative gifts:

1) Only possible to send one gift per day. (This rule could apply for both positive and negative gifts)

2) Negative gifts become more expensive when targeted player has very low popularity. (e.g. -20, -10, … or another number? Aro you know best what is the low end of the popularity ranking).
Positive gifts become more expensive when targeted player has very high popularity. (e.g. +30, +40,... or another number?)

3) Sending negative gifts has negative impact on the sender's popularity and/or town reputation. (town reputation of the receiver of the gift) -> I think this rule would make sense, because in general people would not perceive sending negative gifts as a nice thing to do.

4) Completely out-of-the box thinking: have a sanitary installation where, at the expense of some stamina, the negativity of the poop throwing can be cleaned away. 

Well just a few thoughts. 

To end with a positive note: after 365 days any negative impact will expire...

Testudo
Seeker

Number of posts : 13
Registration date : 2018-09-12

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Post by Lord Arogandor Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:42 am

Thank you for your feedback Testudo!

I believe the feeling of being targeted repeatedly is the biggest issue with the negative popularity gifts. Apart from the mood loss there is no difference between having 0 or -100 popularity. In other words, having negative popularity does not come with any particular disadvantages.

1) There is already a cool-down for sending gifts, I have no problem increasing that cool-down by a couple of hours (like once in 6 hours).
2) Sending gifts can become more expensive, but that shouldn't depend on the target but on the amount of gifts recently sent by the player.

With option 1 we can pretty much eliminate the spamming of gifts, while with option 2 we leave the choice by the player (although a minimum cool-down should remain).

3) It does make sense when 1 person dislikes another person. It makes less sense (at least to me) when the entire town dislikes a particular person. Sending gifts shouldn't be town related and I don't plan on adding a town reputation loss.

4) Poop throwing remains fairly rare, adding another feature (although funny) seems a bit overkill.


Testudo wrote:To end with a positive note: after 365 days any negative impact will expire...
Negative gifts don't have a negative impact on the character.

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Lord Arogandor
Lord Arogandor
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Registration date : 2008-09-19

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Post by Testudo Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:10 pm

With negative impact, I meant that in the absence of a positive popularity, you wouldn't get those pralines events anymore during the daily reset. At lease I suppose those pralines are linked to a positive popularity.

Testudo
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Post by Jubilee Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:41 pm

I agree that abuse of the negative gifting is a problem...and as Grail Lords grows will likely evolve into a bigger problem. Don't all big platforms have issues with this once they grow large enough? And Grail Lords IS growing. Even if it's not massive yet.

If negative gifting is not done in good taste...at some point it may evolve into a form of trolling or even bullying espeically if they are spamming said gifts. While having a negative popularity does not have much impact beyond pralines at reset (I think?)...the impact on mood has an impact and the overall emotional impact of 3 or more muckings a day, everyday over and over would likely damper many people's enjoyment of the game. It could even contribute to people quitting the game entirely. Is this rare at this point? Probably? I don't have the info for that. But even so, should it go unchecked or unchanged?

I know If I was involved in a poop war, I'd likely tire of it very quickly. Sure people dislike each other at times and clash and may argue and spread a little hate at each other but eventually someone wants out, you know?....BUT...say...If my ignoring or actively trying to descelate the poop war didn't work for a couple weeks... I'd probably resort to either being a huge jerk and fight back in some way and/or just go on vacation or quit. Especially if there is no checks or balances to the system of negative gifts. It's just endless muck with no way to stop it unless the sender chooses to stop. But what if they don't choose to stop? Then what? Just endure it and have to wait 365 days and no extra popularity pralines and spend everyday trying to make up mood loss?

Giving a player the choice to recieve gifts on and off would be nice. Many platforms give the option of some kind of blocking. It keeps a site welcoming to the majority of players/people especially a wide diversity of players/people with different personalities/ages/backgrounds/health/etc.

If people are expected to have a certain standard of behavior (not harassing others) in the tavern, it should be similar in gift giving. Full Stop. Period.

Some seekers may enjoy drama and negative events/gift giving. Some may not. I respect that it is a design choice of having negative gifts something you want to keep. I could see how in some cases it could be alot of fun. But I do think if run unchecked...and if nothing changes....I worry you might develop the reputation of siding with bullies, and trolls. And I know you aren't like that, Aro. You do care and want all to enjoy Grail Lords. To do that though, I suggest there needs to be some way for players to break the cycle of a poop war. Especially if you choose to remain out of disputes. People will still be creative...but relying on that is not taking into account the reality that not everyone wants to engage in that way/or is able to for whatever reason. So there needs to be a failsafe of some sort if there is no moderator for disputes...because inevitably there will be some people who NEED a failsafe. One way could be to turn off gifts, or block someone's messages somehow. Idk

I do like many parts of the ideas presented here.
My ideas may be total crap (pun intended)
So I'd like to hear more ideas, if anyone has any!

Hmm ..perhaps sending a negative gift should have some negative event impact on the sender? They are after all...the one choosing to spread negativity, right? If you fight dirty, perhaps one might get a little muck on themselves?

Anyway that's my opinion, ie that regardless of either party, or any circumstances or variables that a person can have a way to say "Stop" and for that to do something. Idk.

But I'd like to hear at least 10 percent of the seeker population's opinion, to see what they think.

Also if Aro likes some of ideas posted by himself, Testudo or others, could not their be a realm wide poll and let seekers vote to tell you what different methods they prefer? Whether that be a specific change or no change. Or narrowing down several different ideas? Idk

Or is that a poor idea?

Jubilee
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Number of posts : 51
Registration date : 2018-07-15

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Post by Lord Arogandor Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:39 pm

There is a big difference between offering in-game tools (how good or bad they might be) to do "bad" things in-game and the choices made by the players itself.

Sending a negative gift is a way to let off some (negative) steam and show target Seeker they are not liked. This option is rarely used, but when it's used, it is used a lot in a short time. I'm the first to admit, not nice to receive a lot of poop, it smells and your ego hurts. We can question if the option is too powerful, if there should be a limitation or even talk about eliminating the option. This could be an interesting game related discussion that eventually could improve the game-play. Seekers who use this option do nothing wrong, they simply use what little tools the game provides. It will make them less popular and they even might be called bullies but maybe the use of poop comes due to the lack of other options (no PvP, little crime or bothering other players in-game).

Apart from in-game tools, we have the players itself. I dream of a Realm where all Seekers act respectfully either being a "goodie-good guy/girl" or "bad guy/girl". Sadly I realize this will always remain a utopia. There is always a small minority of players who dislike another player. Even with the best intention of the world, I can't prevent this from happening. This is why most games have written their "Terms of Service" so that this negativity is more or less in control. The Grail Lords is no exception on that and all Seekers signing up agreed to those Terms.

Without using the in-game negative gifts, few players recently wrote letters or used the chat room to lie and try to hurt other players, often in such a way that I needed all of my fantasy to keep the text related "in-game". Sending a lot of negative gifts in just one way to bother other players and that I prefer that way far above some of the content of letters I've seen these days! Feeling victimized and complaining about receiving poop after sending such letters is highly questionable.

In short, the use of (even broken) game mechanics are fine, ANY verbal abuse isn't and will no longer be tolerated.
Later this month, we will enable the popularity gifts again possible with an increased cool-down. We also will spend time to add additional in-game ways to be a "bad" Seeker, making negative gifts no longer the only tool available.

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Lord Arogandor
Lord Arogandor
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Number of posts : 2860
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Registration date : 2008-09-19

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Post by Jubilee Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:16 pm

I like the idea of limiting it so spamming can't happen. I also agree that verbal abuse is unacceptable, though I think friends should be able to privately vent to others.

But setting this entire recent situation aside(I'll admit I know only one side of it and am a bit biased)...what is the plan in the future if there is some kind of flame war in which it becomes clear someone does need to step in?


Jubilee
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Registration date : 2018-07-15

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Post by Dutch Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:49 pm

Well, I have to say, I'm not in favor of negative gifts being turned off or being 'balanced'.  In spite of all the whining some folks do, it's really not that big a deal.  I mean the worst possible result is you get some negative popularity and maybe hang with a follower that reduces your mood a little bit.  That's so inconsequential in terms of actual effects to your character. 

I can't help but feel the sole reason some folks are getting tuned up about it is just down to their prides getting poked.  In which case I have to ask:  who cares?

I say bring the negative gifts back and tell the children getting mad to grow up.  People need to seriously learn how to deal with adversity in an online gaming rather than looking to game devs to be their parent.
Dutch
Dutch
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Post by Lord Arogandor Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:58 am

I believe it never is a bad thing to discuss parts and mechanics of a game. It often leads to updates, changes and even improvements as a result. The (negative) popularity gifts are no exception on that. This discussion was meant to find out either the popularity gifts are fitting into the Realm or are too powerful or to much "pay to win". Making this a "sensitive" discussion is the fact it's one of the mechanics in the game that directly affects other players (sometime leading to drama).

These "Poop Wars" were interesting and I came to the following conclusions:
+ The Popularity gifts will not be removed from the Realm (and will be re-activated soon).
+ The cool-down time will be increased to 8 hours before you can send another gift.
+ Additional in-game options will be added to make the life of your foes more miserable (Ed Jenkins came with some great ideas for that already).
+ Receiving a negative gift from a player is an in-game action and should be treated that way, ANY verbal abuse isn't and will no longer be tolerated.
+ It's not possible to create a game where you can make everybody happy all the time and that sometimes game updates or refusing to change something will lead to people quitting the game.

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Lord Arogandor
Lord Arogandor
Game Master/Owner

Number of posts : 2860
Location : Somewhere around the Grail Monastery
Registration date : 2008-09-19

http://www.thegraillords.net

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