Talk:Policy:Player vs player conflict

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GM Lyneya open office - 10/15/2016: a log of the discussion that GM Lyneya hosted

General Comments

Please keep discussion on this issue to the specific topic of the page title. Other Policy subjects can be discussed on the other appropriate policy pages.

ANYONE CONTRIBUTING TO THE POLICY DISCUSSION PLEASE READ: Do NOT edit or delete anyone else's contribution. Do NOT hold debates or conversations. You CAN edit your own contribution if you think of more to say. Make sure to add a signature to your contribution so it is easier to find. Click the signature button, second from the right at the top of the editing window. Finally... always make sure to preview BEFORE you save! Thanks! --BLADEDBUTTERFLY (talk) 00:36, 31 August 2016 (CDT)


I would like there to be clear and consistent rules regarding aggressive but non-damaging magic/abilities. We say kicking, punching, slapping grants consent to be engaged in PvP by the "injured." Thumping also grants consent when the sole consequence is the inability to speak for a time, yet stunning, sleeping, and paralyzing renders the person incapable of ANY action for a time and they seem to be generally allowed and do not grant consent. Likewise, non-damaging hostile magic like debuffs have had fuzzy rules set to them.

Regarding the changes to depart/grip mechanics, I like this change. I question though if grave-robbing is necessary at all in this game. It is a relic of a 20 year old policy written when 99% of items were replaceable. Today with all the custom, altered, raffle, auction, rare-material items out there, it can pretty much ruin your entire gaming experience to have your things taken. Is there the possibility of eliminating grave-robbing entirely? It doesn't seem really that necessary anymore.

Consistency and sensibility about what can be forcibly wedged into consent could also use a bit of cleaning up. You don't own a room and can't commit violence to someone for being in 'your' hunting spot if they're not interfering, taking your loot or killing your critters - however, apparently you CAN commit violence if against someone if you give them clear warning you will kill them for doing actions such as speaking or gwething and this has been upheld as allowed. On a similar vein, you can of course kill an empath who is healing your opponent or others who are aiding her or him, but I've also witnessed it be allowed to kill clerics for raising a dead body or empaths for healing a dead body. These can be grey areas for sure, but is there a reason they need to be? --NECKHOFF (talk) 01:09, 2 September 2016 (CDT)

I agree with NECKHOFF on all accounts. I would very much like to see grave-robbing removed entirely because, as stated, the proliferation of valuable items has made it too punitive. Other death/resurrection mechanics to increase death's difficulty would be welcome, although we should consider them carefully. I'm especially concerned that if death causes too much permanent damage it will make griefing more prevalent. As for the clarity of the rules, it would be nice to have some kind of chart somewhere. Finally, I would especially like to see some clarity on the rules of harassment. I realize that what constitutes harassment may be best left as a judgment call, but some kind of general guideline about how often one person can attack another would be welcome. --PRIMEQ (talk) 21:04, 3 September 2016 (CDT)
"I question though if grave-robbing is necessary at all in this game. It is a relic of a 20 year old policy written when 99% of items were replaceable. Today with all the custom, altered, raffle, auction, rare-material items out there, it can pretty much ruin your entire gaming experience to have your things taken. Is there the possibility of eliminating grave-robbing entirely? It doesn't seem really that necessary anymore."

"I would very much like to see grave-robbing removed entirely because, as stated, the proliferation of valuable items has made it too punitive."

While it's true that altered and otherwise exotic items are exponentially more common today than 20 years ago, the conclusion is invalid. 20 years ago losing any significant item was much more painful because the likelihood of replacement was slim. Furthermore the time spent to earn any item was relatively much higher. Put simply there are more items now but both the value and rarity of those items is considerably lower.

Perhaps more significant is that being graverobbed now requires a great deal of carelessness. Since the latest safeguards were put into place I've seen very little graverobbing of anything meaningful. The few instances that occurred involved unexplained mismatches between the quality of items carried by the character and the experience of the player. Redesigning important game systems to fit characters who, uh, receive extravagant gifts from strangers, would be counterproductive.

Games that are both overly easy and lack dynamic content quickly become boring. DR is a resource-limited, slow-changing game with a comparative dearth of both content and players. Removing graverobbing would end one of the few dynamic and challenging aspects of the game. Leave it alone.--MRTSCR (talk) 23:32, 11 October 2016 (CDT)
I'm skeptical that something as safeguarded and secure and idiot-proof as you argue it has become still provide any kind of dynamic challenge. As you mentioned, it's really something that inexperienced people suffer more than anything. At that point, why bother having it there at all? Who does it benefit? It fails to create a challenge for those who want more risk or danger, and it fails to create anything exciting and fun for people who dislike losing their stuff. --TEVESHSZAT (talk) 02:48, 12 October 2016 (CDT)
You haven't actually countered MRTSCR said but more, IMO, proved his point. Graverobbing my character would decimate me as I've spent years building up the unique non-altered items I have. However, it would be 100% my fault if I lose them now with the mechanics in place to prevent loss (not even counting the bonding potion capabilities). If you remove this aspect then the fear of loss would be removed 100% and cause additional careless behaviors that I don't think would benefit the game.--RCHIGHT (talk) 00:45, 20 October 2016 (CDT)
Alternatively, by removing the rare potential chance to lose things you've spent years building up players might be more prone to taking chances/risk, because then the risks would be more short-term and palatable. Along with this, and similar to the discussions GMs are having where if every magic user has X feat, should X feat just come baked into the magic system as a whole, if the system is so foolproof and softened that it's essentially impossible to have happen, what value is there in keeping it around? What benefit does the game provide by offering the potential to decimate a _player_? Whose enjoyment is improved as a result? --TEVESHSZAT (talk) 09:49, 20 October 2016 (CDT)

I agree that there should be clearly defined and consistent rules surrounding PvP and consent policy. The details of the consent policy should be made completely available via the POLICY verb and not something that also requires the browsing of multiple NEWS items to supplement the information. PvP stances should be updated and the GUARDED stance should be removed completely. If a CLOSED player initiates an attack on an OPEN player their stance should be set to OPEN for a set period of time. If a CLOSED player attacks another CLOSED player the stance should not be changed as it should be considered RP conflict. Likewise, if an OPEN player initiates an attack on a CLOSED player for any reason it would not affect their stance, even if they choose to retaliate (within "X" minutes, preferably). --WHITEBEAUTY (talk) 23:57, 16 September 2016 (CDT)

I agree with this. Closed/guarded players attacking only when they're assured victory by a massive rank difference is a longstanding problem. "Consent" with constant GM mediation was never a great way to manage PvP. But now there are fewer and fewer GMs online, and their time could be much better spent elsewhere. It's clearly time for something new.--MRTSCR (talk) 23:32, 11 October 2016 (CDT)
WHITEBEAUTY, one problem I see with the proposed mechanics change to switch a player's PvP stances based on triggers is that an open profile character may perform non-combat actions (e.g. slap/kick/thump) or insult the closed-profile player into attacking and still be within the grounds of consent which shouldn't trigger an automatic opening of profile per the gist of your proposal. --UNFINISHED-USERNAM (talk) 21:51, 27 September 2016 (CDT)

I personally wish the PVP could be tweaked as follows

Your combat stance also dictates how you see others in the game.

For example if you are guarded or closed and attack an open without a consent, that open player is allowed to report you if they wish. In other words, your PVP stance keeps you beholden to your choices. A Guarded/Closed character should always be at risk for getting reported if they attack without consent. This would remove the first strike many Guarded/Closed enjoy versus opens. Furthermore, it would help put an end to the guarded/closed baiting of opens. Opens would still be stuck with the same rules they currently have to follow. They would be able to attack other opens, but would have to gain consent to attack guarded/closed. I feel like its far more fair to make Guarded/Closed characters play and adhere to the very policy they are choosing. --DISCOTEQ21 (talk) 07:33, 12 October 2016 (CDT)

One of the main problems the game faces today, in regards to PVP: GMs don't know the difference between CONSENT and Unconsented PVP. If I AIM at someone, ADVANCE on someone, or cast a spell on them, I've given them consent to attack me, but I haven't attacked them in regards to un-consented PVP. Just because I've done an action that grants someone else consent on my character, doesn't mean I've PVP'ed them in an unconsented manner.

Also, PVP ON/OFF. If you're PVP ON, then you attack other PVP ON no problem, and can not attack PVP OFF. If you're PVP OFF, you're saying I don't want physical violence whatsoever. However, if a PVP OFF attacks ANYONE, they are set to PVP ON. Nice and clear cut, easy peasy. --WILLN1 (talk) 08:00, 12 October 2016 (CDT)

This ^. So much this. The current GM's seem clueless about the difference between what a CONSENTABLE action is, and a what a REPORTABLE action is. Non-damaging spells are NOT reportable currently, but they do grant consent. Simplifying the policy will make this less of an issue, but GM's understanding whatever policy is in place, and enforcing it properly is still key. --IVORYTOWERNECRO (talk) 8:28, 12 October 2016 (CDT)
How does this ON/OFF plan address a person who is actively harassing and acting like a jerk if their PVP OFF? --DISCOTEQ21 (talk) 12:06, 12 October 2016 (CDT)

PvP policy is too legalistic

At the end of the day, what matters is that players are having a good time and not necessarily that they are adhering to the rules. A player staying within the letter of policy while griefing someone else is still spoiling the community. Neither should players fear engaging in PvP shenanigans unless they're acting in bad faith. Some guiding concepts could be considered in lieu of hard and fast rules.

A) Consent is implied. The game world is interactive, and one of the ways to be interacted with is PvP. Unless a player is stanced Closed, it is not a policy violation to initiate PvP with them.

B) Consent can be withdrawn. If a player does not want to engage in PvP and they 1) make that OOCly clear and 2) refrain from provoking the other party, aggression stops. Violating this rule nets a warning, full stop. If you want people to play along, they need to be enjoying themselves.

C) Staff can say "no fault, knock it off" in any circumstance without additional justification.

In either B or C any stolen property must be returned and consent ends - unless someone was killed. In that case the party killed can try to score a kill in revenge, then consent ends.

A simple framework like the above is likely be easier for players to apply and easier for staff to enforce. And if players know that they can stop the action if they're not having fun, they may be more willing to approach PvP with an open mind. --JULIAN (talk) 14:52, 12 October 2016 (CDT)

There are two showstoppers with this idea. First, demands on staff time would be significantly increased if all situations were open to interpretation. Second, it would enable rather than discourage policy griefers, who could cry foul and avoid consequences any time they end up losing. In short, more labor intensive and more open to exploitation. We need to move in the opposite direction on both counts. --MRTSCR (talk) 23:35, 25 October 2016 (CDT)

PVP, Consent, Taking Death Too Seriously & Reducing Reporting

I haven’t been to any of the pvp/consent meetings, but I was shown a log from one. This is what stands out to me:

Lyneya says, "We want to cut DOWN on the need to report."

This isn’t the first time a GM has said it, IG, on the forums, at a con or wherever. You can be doing fun or important stuff for the game, or you can use all of your time policing the game. Most players would say they want the former, but for some when their text character gets into a conflict and killed then they report and end up perpetuating the latter.

Consent and pvp policy are ultimately a question of punishment. A conflict ensues in game, in character, ranging from a legit reason to no reason at all. A text character dies. The player of the dead text character wants the other player to be punished. The punishment doesn’t add to the roleplay environment. It doesn’t facilitate future roleplay, although it might deter legit roleplay along with griefing. It’s disproportionate. That is, “depart full” and 15 minutes versus game lockouts.

We could add to this that DR has always had a problem with players taking character death too seriously. This is partially the fault of policy itself. There’s a feedback loop where the rules treat it too seriously, so the people take it too seriously.

The core problem with consent policy is not the violation of consent. It’s not killing a text person. It’s the player/GM fallout. The wasted time of staff. The negative impact on the roleplay environment. People afraid to play characters that conflict. Players afraid to play bad guys and players afraid to play good guys who fight bad guys. Hiding behind policy, lawyering with policy, baiting people into breaking policy or baiting them into gaining consent. Navigating a mountain of red tape for a Cleric to fight a Necromancer in a roleplaying game.

If the goal of the consent policy rewrite is to reduce reporting, then it’s important that new rules and restrictions are not added. Not a single new restriction. The more reportable offenses there are, the more violations, the more people are going to report.

Many people have expressed a desire for clarification of the rules, ending the “gray area.” Everyone who has played a controversial character has experienced a time when they thought they’d have consent, only to find out they did not. If not that, all the times they avoided RPing conflict when they did have consent out of uncertainty and fear that they’d be reported.

Meanwhile the rules that already exist, the ones that are black and white, don’t stop people from reporting. I know GMs have had to deal with assists by people who had their profiles set to open and got killed. A lot of reports for unconsented pvp that get ruled a no-GM fall into this category as well. Policy wasn’t broken, but someone reported anyway. All the rules, all the clear policy in the world, isn’t going to stop upset players from reporting when their text character gets in a fight.

So a clear list of rules, verbs or actions that require consent wont necessarily reduce reporting. A list can’t hurt, of course. However, if those rules are more strict than they currently are, for example to make casting any spell require consent or any interaction require consent, then they will stifle roleplay. And they’ll most likely increase reporting, too. The same way the closed/guarded/open profile system didn’t end consent reports and didn’t neatly separate the people who wanted to pvp from the people who wanted to play conflict-free characters. Instead, policy wasn’t changed for the closed profiles. New rules and policy further muddied the waters. For example, people feeling they were free from consent because they were closed. Open people reporting.

This was years ago and these kinds of things still happen. How much additional reporting, and for how many more years, would new rules and restrictions end up creating?

If the problem with consent is actually consent in and of itself, if the goal is to create a roleplay environment without conflict or pvp, then by all means expand the consent rules. Make all spells and abilities that impact a character require consent. People will probably still continue to use these for a long time and you’ll see an increase in reports, but eventually people will learn that you can’t cast a spell on someone else without consent. Maybe at the end of some years there will be slightly fewer reports at the cost of sterilizing a major roleplay vector in the game.

You could even eliminate all consent-based reports by implementing a coded consent command, similar to the ‘consent’ command that already exists for certain verbs like sacrifice. Before a character can attack another, use any spell on another, or do any of the things that might be rolled up in the new consent policy. DR could become a MUD like those that don’t have pvp outside of arenas and you’d never have to deal with a consent-based report ever again.

Many people would like that. They’d like a game free of theft, pvp, and character conflict in general. Many of us also wouldn’t like that. That’s not the game we grew up with and got hooked on. If the game were like that when I came back as a F2P, I would have just kept a F2P character to chat casually on. I never would have resubscribed. I might as well add here that when I returned to the game I found that player stealing almost never occurred any more, for various reasons, from stealing/perception balance tweaks to plat inflation to open profile mechanics. Player stealing was dead. People rarely stole, Thieves didn’t plague the ferries, I’d stand my F2P in main areas for days with pockets full of plats and no one would touch them. Player stealing being the crux of the Thief guild and my favorite pastime, as well as player stealing being the main catalyst of conflict roleplay (even beyond the Necro element), this was enough to make me stay F2P. It was also enough to turn me off playing a Thief as a F2P and when I did resubscribe. Any changes to consent and pvp policy that limit character conflict or further restrict consent would feel very similar.

If the problem is people reporting and wasting GM time because their text character died then it’s a problem you can’t flat out solve with a policy rewrite. No matter how strict, lax, black and white, or gray the policy is. This is a player/culture problem, similarly to how AFK scripting (see the scripting policy discussion page) is a game design problem. If you want people to report less then you need to disincentive reporting. You need to shift player culture away from reporting. As far as a policy rewrite is concerned this means fewer reportable offenses, thus fewer excuses to report. Not more.

Maybe in the policy itself you could explain to players – this is a violent game. It’s a game with a lot of death. You’re gonna die a lot, probably dozens or hundreds of times, in your career playing it. You’re gonna get killed by mobs and players. You’d better get ok with that quick.

And instead of encouraging people to report immediately, which is the way current policy reads, you could emphasize reporting as a last resort. A thing to do when you’re being terrorized, not when someone casts a random spell on you or shoots you with an arrow you after you insult their mother. Being killed without consent, or with blurry consent, is not a big deal. It’s a game, it’s mostly populated by adults, dust yourself off and go on your way. Maybe a rule was broken, but it can be handled without wasting staff time. If you’re being harassed, well, there’s a harassment policy.

I don’t have a solution for getting chronic reporters to distinguish between harassment and getting ice patched once by a WM. These people probably do need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and given some special attention. However, being able to handle fewer consent reports, even if it means having to look into things and say this is/isn’t harassment, would be much better than limiting any of the conflict/pvp element of the game. There’s very little real conflict/pvp left, anyway. Can we please keep what has managed to survive. --CAMUS (talk) 20:11, 17 October 2016 (CDT)

This^ What the new vein of consent rules seem to do is ADD rules for people to have consent/report instead of removing them. What is the goal from a business perspective. We have Plat, Prime, and Fallen. Plat is no PVP and no problem. Fallen is all PVP open and no problem. Prime? Well if you want more griefing make more rules people can skirt around. Primary example is AOE in a hunting room. The intent isn't to have a confrontation with another PC but to hunt. Still if someone walks through and is hit then CONSENT is granted. Think of it this way, if you walk through a hunting area where a CRITTER does some insta-strike and you die what will a GM/GH tell you when you assist? The same rules should apply. You travel at your own risk, no consent granted. --RCHIGHT (talk) 01:00, 20 October 2016 (CDT)

Something to consider is a bounty system, in lieu of a reporting and consent system. Allow players to place plat rewards on peoples heads, and you'll have an interesting system that would encourage roleplay and discourage griefing. In tandem, jack up the justice penalties for murder exponentially, to discourage people from randomly attacking other players (percentage of wealth modified heavily by circle and skill discrepancy of victims). Keep the current profile options, but make them a guideline and less of a rule. Ultimately, in your face behavior modification is a good thing (unlike gweth smashing remotely, which hopefully if that comes back it requires melee range, being unhidden, and invokes a 30 second roundtime). But built in game checks can prevent abuse simply by way of discouraging people from getting too crazy with their destructive rampages. --Ashbomb (talk) 03:42, 27 October 2016 (CST)

Being locked PvP open when using a gwethsmasher

I wish the penalty was reduced from using things such as gwethsmashers or thump could be reduced from 24 hours or instead of being locked open if you're closed, you be locked to guarded? Because I know that IC I have wanted to use gwethsmashers before but haven't because I am terrified of being a target for 24 hours. Would 2-3 hours work better instead? It gives the chance for the person to retaliate without being targeted for the next 24 hours when the gwethsmashing only lasts six hours.

I thought the gwethsmasher locked to open time was 4 hours but I've not done it so could by 100% wrong. Also, if you pull off a smash or thump you have won a stat contest which means you don't have much to worry about (in most cases). This doesn't provide consent to anyone but the smashed/thumped. I don't see the need for changes to this. --RCHIGHT (talk) 01:07, 20 October 2016 (CDT)
I wouldn't mind seeing this go, mainly because I'd like to see more people using gwethsmashers. I think a lot more people would use them, except (like you said in your case) many people are afraid of being locked open. I'm not 100% sure what the intent was initially, if it was intended to deter people from using gwethsmashers or not. However, that seems to be the result. It would be nice to see smaller characters being able to spark up conflict-driven RP this way without necessarily inviting anyone to kill them for any reason (including without roleplay).
Similar to that I'd like to see this go for player stealing even more than for gwethsmashing. I don't think it's the sole reason why player stealing is infrequent now, but I think the mechanic contributed to it. People could be fine with pvp and conflict within a RP context, but they might also feel that being locked open is a punishment, not want pvp outside of a RP context, or not want to be randomly killed without RP. Overall I'd like to see a lot more pvp and less restrictive pvp policy/rules. Which perhaps counter-intuitively means not locking people open for player theft and gwethsmashing. This would let people choose their battles and encourage pvp among lower levels when they get caught stealing or when they smash someone. A good middle ground would also be to lock people open if they are seen or caught, versus locking them open immediately upon an attempt.--CAMUS (talk) 08:36, 21 October 2016 (CDT)
All PvP acts should require being PvP open. Behaving aggressively while reserving the right to report isn't a valid choice and shouldn't be an option within game mechanics. Anyone who chooses to do unto others should expect to be done unto.
It is true that "being locked open" seems punitive, when in reality being PvP open is a fun way to expand one's DR experience. Therefore it should be reframed: Instead of a timed lock open as a consequence of PvP actions, simply prevent all PvP actions without first voluntarily switching to open. This should include stealing, attacking including casting non-damaging debil spells, thumping, and gwethsmashing. Also add flavor text to reinforce that being PvP open is a valid and fun choice rather than a penalty.--MRTSCR (talk) 23:13, 25 October 2016 (CDT)
I disagree that thumping should be consent. Same goes for gwethsmashing if/when it doesn't actually destroy a gweth. Part of the reason thumping/smashing exists is to allow players to police bad player-to-player behavior (vs it being an IC action). Giving someone the green light to harass someone in an exciting new PvP way would be counter to the spirit of that. --TEVESHSZAT (talk) 23:50, 25 October 2016 (CDT)
There are offensive and defensive ways to handle disruptive behavior. Defensive methods include leaving a room, using gags/squelches, and removing one's gweths. Offensive methods include thumping, smashing, and attacking. Being closed/guarded is a choice to be protected from conflict by policy, i.e. to play defensively. Therefore only defensive options should be available to closed/guarded characters.
Regarding OOC vs. IC, enforcement of this requires GM monitoring and intervention. Policy reform should include the goal of minimizing the need for GM intervention. Furthermore, history has clearly shown that players will use thump and smash for both IC and OOC reasons. This is unfixable as a significant portion of DR's population believe staying IC means saying things like "gods" and "pigeons." In short they do not truly differentiate between IC and OOC motivations. Therefore any practical policy change will anticipate that players will use thump and smash for both IC and OOC reasons.--MRTSCR (talk) 22:32, 28 October 2016 (CDT)