Skill Spamming

23 Dec 2006 10:08 #5445 by Synthesis
Skill Spamming was created by Synthesis
Practicing frustrates me. I realize the need for a time differential to separate old characters from new characters, and for there to be some incentive for wanting to progress (and to keep newbie characters from ruining the game for everyone), but it seems like the amount of spam practice required to inrease skills in this game is ridiculous.

So far, most of my roleplay experience on this MUD has been either 1) "Hey, how do you craft x?"; 2) Wandering around exploring on my own; or 3) Sitting around shooting the breeze while watching 3-5 other players spam practice a skill.

Let's have a hypothetical situation.

You enter the game.
You look around.

Joe is here.
Bob is here.
Leroy is here.
Holmes is here.
An enormous pile of spam-crafted useless $#!* is here.

Joe continues whittling a doohickey.
Bob loads a crossbow.
Bob begins aiming a crossbow at a tree.
Bob fires a crossbow at a tree!
Leroy continues chopping a log.
Holmes continues repairing a useless item.
Bob gets a bolt.
Bob loads a crossbow.
Bob begins aiming at a tree.
You say, "Hey dudes, what's happening?"
Holmes continues repairing a useless item.
Joe messes up while whittling a doohickey.
Joe grabs another branch.
Joe begins whittling a doohickey.
Bob fires a crossbow at a tree!
Holmes continues repairing a useless item.
Leroy is successful at making a log.
Leroy starts making another log.
Holmes says, "Nothing much, just spam practicing so we can compete."
You say, "What are you going to do once you can compete?"
Holmes shrugs, and continues repairing a useless item.
Leroy alt+tabs back to the ZMud window and looks around, finding nothing particularly interesting to respond to.
Bob gets a bolt.
Bob loads a crossbow.
Bob begins aiming a crossbow at a tree.
Bob says, "Yeah. I could be doing something artistic or engrossing, really immersing myself in the gameworld, but instead I feel the need to fire my bow 1,000 times a day. It's the only way to become an expert marksman. You wanna spar when I'm finished?"
Leroy says, "Dude, I'll spar when I'm done with this log."
Bob says, "Okay."
Holmes finishes repairing a useless item.
Holmes begins repairing a useless item again.
Joe is successful at whittling a doohickey.
Joe says, "Come on Bob, let's spar now. I'll be offense, because it's the only way to get l337."
You say, "And once you're 1337, what are you going to do?"
Joe says, "Then I can do whatever I want, and continue to act like a damn fool, with the important caveat that now, with my uber skills, no-one will be able to stop me without risking life and limb. Thus, I will be coddled by a cadre of boot-licking non-skillspammers who had the decency to put roleplay above practice, unlike my awesome self."
You say, "Oh. Well, I better get to work skillspamming, too, so you don't totally pwn me in two weeks."
Joe puts a doohickey on an enormous pile of previously-whittled doohickeys waiting to be dumped on an unsuspecting market.
Leroy says, "I got winner."
Holmes says, "Man, I always get sloppy thirds. I'm never gonna be 1337 if I can't spar until all my limbs are badly injured."
Leroy is successful at making a log.
Leroy begins chopping another log.
Bob puts a crossbow away and grabs sparring weapons.
Joe grabs sparring weapons.
Joe attacks Bob!
Bob retaliates against Joe!
Joe lies down, beaten within an inch of his life.
Leroy is interrupted.
Leroy grabs sparring weapons.
Leroy attacks Bob!
Bob retaliates against Leroy!
Even though Joe has a broken leg and his head has been caved in by an errant blow, he grabs a tree branch and begins whittling again.
Joe begins whittling a doohickey.
Leroy and Bob collapse to the ground, both exhausted, but unscathed.
Leroy and Bob both pull out flutes, and begin playing.
Holmes scowls and says, "Man, I never get to spar because you two always wear each other out. Ooh, what's that, a deer!"
Holmes jogs off to the west.
You glance west: Holmes is here, jogging off toward a deer, eyes filled with morbid intent.
The elite oldbie jogs in from the north, moving like a deadly cower in trepidation.
Bob says, "Hi, oldbie."
The elite oldbie says, "Haha, look at you useless noobs. You are so pathetic. What, you dare to disrespect me?! Prostrate yourself before my awesomeness, or suffer mortal injury, fool!1!one!1!"
Bob says, "But...I just said hi?"
The elite oldbie draws his Doom Swords and advances on Bob!
The elite oldbie disembowels Bob with a single mote of awesomeness, sent blinging forth from his Doom Sword!
Bob dies right before your eyes!
The elite oldbie tilts his head back and laughs menacingly before saying, "Who else dares disrespect my awesomeness!?"
The elite oldbie lies down and begins playing a flute.
Holmes thinks: Wow, I want to be just like that guy.
Leroy thinks: Wow, I want to be just like that guy.
Joe thinks: Man, I seriously need to spam up my defense, so that guy can't pick on me like that. And work on my hide skill, too.
Bob thinks: My next character is totally going to pwn that guy. I'm going to sit in the mountains and tangle with bobcats until I'm an expert in every combat skill.
You sigh.
You think: Is this all there is?

I mean, seriously. This is not what an RPI MUD is supposed to be about, but it seems like this is what it's being reduced to for newbie characters. Hell, I've even seen expert warriors, who can drop a deer in a single blow, take to fighting birds barehanded just to spam up their combat skills that extra little step. The rate of skill increase is so maddeningly low, that it's driving people to distraction as they attempt to stay ahead of the curve. Now, I don't know if all this spam practicing is even helping in the first place, mind you...all I'm saying is that this is what I see people doing. When there are 18 people on, and 5 of them are in the room with you, all spam-practicing some skill or another, something has gone wrong.

Ways to fix it:

I think the best way is to implement a system where skill-spamming does not significantly increase skill gains, and then -publicly announce it and make it common knowledge-. If people -know- they're wasting their time shooting a crossbow at a tree 100 times, they probably won't sit around and do it. They'll probably find something else to do. For example...publicly announce that you can only improve 10 skill points every three hours you're logged in, and that skill points generally accrue quickly. Under this system, people (if they're acting rationally...which is quite another question, really, but has to be assumed to make any sort of sense) will practice whatever skills they want for a little while, then go and find something else to do for the next 2.5 hours they're in the game. Of course, there's no way to guarantee that they'll actually do anything engaging (they might just lie down and idle for 2.5 hours), but at least there's a -chance-.

And at the very least, -at least- the characters that -want- to roleplay engaging scenarios and who -want- to really immerse themselves won't feel the pull of skill-spamming just to compete--because the most annoying thing in the world is roleplaying your ass off, only to get beat down by some twink skill-spamming knucklehead who has just enough competence to suss out the generalities of the learning system, but who can't handle the intricacies of plot, scenario, or character development.

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23 Dec 2006 13:13 #5446 by ladyimp
Replied by ladyimp on topic Re: Skill Spamming
I'll be grinning the entire time I type my response, because I really got a kick from how you wrote your 'log'. I really find it funny. Make more fake logs, please!

Err, right, the less funny stuff, your real topic.

I'll agree with you, it doesn't have to be this way - even with the system as is. Though I don't mind changes to it either... but I cannot make those changes to the programing. What I can do, and what I continually do, is act in character with all I meet, and even when alone. Just about everything you can do in game, can be done both in a realistic in character and at least somewhat interesting fashion - and I try to interact in ways to make this noticable and enjoyable, perhaps even worth copying to some extent. I -think- a character could be both strong over time, and well roleplayed all throughout its life.

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23 Dec 2006 16:07 #5447 by Fartmonger
Replied by Fartmonger on topic Re: Skill Spamming
Firstly, hats off on the nice 'log'. Very accurate image of what I see when I manage to find a group of people :(

It always seems like you have to spam skills in order to have a character with enough skill to get involved in RP, which is sad. There are other ways to get a character plenty of RP while avoiding spam, but sadly it almost always involves your character being beat senseless by the first person you annoy with any skill >.>

As for your plea for anti-spam measures, I'm pretty sure that it's mentioned in a helpfile somewhere, but there is stuff in the skill system to prevent abuse like that. While it'd be breaking the game mechanics rule to give specific details, I'll say that spamming won't really help you advance skills. Skills will only advance if you have the patience to hold on to your character and let them develop realistically. Unfortunately, spammers don't have any patience :P

People knocking the crap out of each other in spars is a problem I've come across in almost every RPI MUD I've tried, but we can hope that the new features in developement will help discourage people from such activities. It fits some character types, beating each other senseless that is, but the majority of people don't play intense maniacs.

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24 Dec 2006 02:31 #5448 by Throrg
Replied by Throrg on topic Re: Skill Spamming

Without giving any IC info away I can't say how humm, 'familiar' that log is ;).

I try not to spam unless i'm around other folks and then I RP my skills and only work towards earning some money. I like to explore the world more than be the best.

I do agree that a MUD with such a small playerbase can end up top-heavy skill wise.

These folk on the bot can be good or evil. Either ruins gameplay for someone.

I just try to keep away from populate areas and seek out people I've had fun with before. I love to explore in games!

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24 Dec 2006 17:38 #5449 by Grendal
Replied by Grendal on topic Re: Skill Spamming
You have successfully describe what happens when people are given nothing to do.

People play a game to be involved in what is happening. They want to join in and be a part of the excitement.
Unfortunately, players themselves must be the ones to organize the excitement.

So basically you have a bunch of people who want to follow along and join in with whatever is going on.
They don't want to be the one to organize an adventure, to start up a quest or sponsor an event.

A group of followers with no leaders creates an atmosphere of people trying to gain skill for the sake of gaining skill.

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24 Dec 2006 19:30 #5450 by kaain
Replied by kaain on topic Re: Skill Spamming
Being so very new still I have as well witnessed this, and have thus come to believe that you must do something like this as has been said to simply avoid a single sword blow death. Now I have encountered some 'great' role playing, and I do enjoy that most, but when wandering about 'alone' or when you find people that are also trying to 'learn' skills, it is what seems one does.

Questions I have a a newbie:

Is everything in the game 'learnable' on your own? Through recall or reading or finding? or are some things passed on only word of mouth?

Have witnessed a few deaths and and as well died, (sorry if this is IC - someone please remove it it is.) It seems fetishes are generally left in place? meaning peopel just come back and start fighting again?

Comments are:

Great game, has been keeping me exploring so far, and enjoying discovery.

Some good roleplaying, and perhaps working into more things as well,thanks.

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24 Dec 2006 21:29 #5451 by ladyimp
Replied by ladyimp on topic Re: Skill Spamming
Kaain, in answer to you, there is a lot of the game that is not 'obvious', depending on how each player thinks. If you never see a certain item in play, or hear another player talking about it, you could easily never learn it existed. Likewise, you might never try certain commands on your own because you never thought about doing something that way - there are some rather obscure help files, and commands with no help files as well. Check out the command 'verbs' some time too, maybe. I learned a lot from thinking about that command's information.

But because the game is designed to cause us to need each other, especially for learning, I'd say that yes, every player is likely to need to be told things, and have no chance of every noticing certain things exist without being told about them, though the list of what probably varies a bit between people.

As for fetishes, help death says "If, after being dead a real life hour and fifteen minutes, your character still retains his or her fetish, they will automatically be resurrected."

That sentance implies a lot... but roughly speaking, if a fetish is pulled will depend on a large number of mostly IC factors, which characters are near the dead one, what their interactions have been up to that point, player experience (new players rather often see a corpse, look at it, and then type 'get all corpse'), the personality of the characters that can reach the corpse, and what other distracting things are happening in play at the time.

So, a character near their best friend's corpse is highly unlikely to pull the fetish, by their worst enemy perhaps likely to, certain characters most unwilling to, others almost eager to pull anyone's they can. For that matter, 'pulling a fetish' might not be as simple an act as the words suggest. Additionally, one must wonder, would most characters know to pull a fetish, to try and prevent ressurrection? I'd argue not, not unless the character in question learned it in play. But everyone, more or less, would have to agree to follow that suggestion, for it to have a serious chance of getting off the ground.

Death also, according to the help death file, is 'reflected in loss of skills and stats.'. So, don't think that death is meaningless, ic or out, save for a time you have to wait. You might face an enemy in play, a fellow PC. You might fight and win, and kill them. If you do not pull their fetish, they might autores and come after your character again... but they will have lost skills and stats, which was what, along with skill of play, they tested against you in the first place. You already won once... are they really that frightening weaker then the last time you defeated them?

Code supports nonlethal combat, lethal combat, and permakilled combat. I'd urge, use every tool you have, to make the best story. If you permakill a character, that part of the story we all weave is torn, they are ripped from it. That too, can sometimes make for a better story... but usually, it makes for a weaker one.

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25 Dec 2006 06:34 #5452 by DuncmanG
Replied by DuncmanG on topic Re: Skill Spamming
I would also add that death for a char is a relatively traumatizing experience. I tend to envision it as something that not only affects skills and stats, but disorients your char rather seriously, even leading to some memory loss and whatnot. So if you don't feel like searching for, chasing down and attacking another player to "take revenge" for your death, just RP that your char only vaguely remembers something happening to them and then waking up elsewhere. That way if you're not a fighter, you can still RP your death without feeling an obligation to get revenge.

Also, while being at home for Christmas is nice, it sucks not having a reliable internet connection and thus not being able to log in and RP some.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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26 Dec 2006 15:44 #5453 by Gabocha
Replied by Gabocha on topic Re: Skill Spamming
Being proactive is the best way to make sure you're never bored, and it usually carries a great deal of non-boring skill gain with it.

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26 Dec 2006 19:21 #5454 by Devon Mullane
Replied by Devon Mullane on topic Re: Skill Spamming
Ok, RP log is definitely funny and you are correct about that's what it often looks like.

Well it turns out in Terinnor that is a form of recreation, but if it bothers you so much then don't be a part of it. There are people only interested in building skills with minimal RP, and there are quite a few. Think of it this way, in your life, your real life, there are very few things you will master. Why should you think mastering everything is better in AL. There is always going to be someone with more time than you, that is something I've learned. You should not try to 'keep up', rather find why YOUR character is in this world. What purpose do they serve? What is their history, where did they come from and where are they going? How do they feel, what do they see?

You could be a bard, a masterful musician and travel the world playing soothing melodies to calm the raging hearts of men.

You could be a philosopher, a man of his mind and a debater of all things intangible and something more so.

You could be a warrior, a rugged trump card destined to battle.

Look, you don't have to learn everything ok? It's not required, and all characters die. Think of it this way next time you are mad at a spam-crafter:

One day their character will die, and all their work will dissapear. You however, having spent time RP get to keep what you gained, experience and stories. You are just looking at it in such a shallow light it's really too bad. There are people who practice diligently ALL DAY EVERY DAY: to learn to fight, hunt, play music, paint. This is IN REAL LIFE. And do you lip off to a master martial artist because they've trained incessently? Do you criticize the painter because he has spent his life mastering his craft?

Basically when you complain like this all you are saying is, "I want those skills too, it's not fair that these people with no lives should spend them gaining skills and be more powerful than I."

Look I felt the same way at one time, but if you quit emulating what you see in other players, you will find that they are they only matter as much as you let them, and the people who are advancing the story and having a real impact on things are those who are doing more than skill-building. I love AL; I explore, I fight, I craft, I listen to stories and I tell some of my own. THIS is what I think AL was designed for, and there are always going to be people who 'twink' it.

Just know that they fill a very important role, and because they are doing that, you are not required to. And to think you must be better than them so you do have to fear them is just the ego speaking, I've never been attacked for a reason that I didn't cause. There are murders and thieves, but to be honest any I've met were dead before I got there, because one of the twinky characters took care of them. Nice. Oh and by the way, you can make a living without crafting or hunting a single thing, that's a free hint.

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