What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewards?

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Strider
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Strider » 01 Jul 2011 07:29

Ultimately, I think this boils down to "What should be encouraged (rewarded) in combat with NPCs?"

I think that first and foremost, player skill and it's close cousin, luck, should be rewarded, such that over time investing thought and energy into being good at fighting pays dividends over simply spending time fighting. This means that the reward for reasonably risky combat needs to be large enough to cover the average player's losses from death and still give an acceptable growth rate; one notably higher than can be achieved by only engaging in safe combat. We need to shift the paradigm from a steady grind, to something more like "two steps forward, one step back" or "puke and rally". The overall growth rate need not be any higher than we see today and in fact should be much lower if players continue risk-averse patterns, but should rather be punctuated by exciting advances and lamentable setbacks.

Outside of role playing, which I think would require overly convoluted calculations to attempt a universal role-based bonus system, players tend to initiate combat with NPCs for the 3 Gs: gold, gear and growth. Experience calculations should account and adjust down for these other rewards, especially for rare magical weapons.

Somewhat tangentially, between encumbrance and a small on-going need for money, trails of loot are often simply left in people's wakes. I wonder if it wouldn't be interesting if loot left in corpses when they decay began to rust or be otherwise devalued, if not picked up and perhaps wiped with a hardware shop clean cloth. It might be overly taxing on the system to use so many heart beats, so it could just be calculated when picked up and simply crumble if it has been too long. This would leave some interesting edge cases, like dismembered corpses or ingot caused rapid decay.

Even if they gave no other reward, there are some NPCs who would still be killed simply for their equipment. It has been noted here that some of the best gear in the game is not all that well defended. In addition to adjusting experience to account for other rewards, there should be guidelines regarding the power of gear relative to its ease of acquisition.

The suggestions here regarding what could or should go into describing how difficult an NPC is to kill are solid. I might also increase the level based on the spectrum of damage types inflicted and possible counters required for the NPC, as well as for the possible variation in configuration for that type of NPC. It seems to me that these factors might be best used to calculate a challenge rating or difficulty for the NPC on spawn and that experience should given based on a comparison between the character and that number to properly reward based on risk.

Something that has not yet been mentioned in this thread is teams and as a MUD, I think that Genesis needs to reward teaming. Now, teams have some natural advantages, with increased attacks, more hit points, more heal points, etc., that allow them to simply kill more NPCs. Further, depending on how the team's strength is calculated, their ability to take on much larger NPCs should provide each member with a better than linear increase in experience granted.

That does raise the question of how teams should share experience. I've known systems where every team member got the full experience granted from any encounter, others where it was divided between the members, others where experience is granted by criteria like getting the killing strike, and still others where the experience is granted based on proportional size and projected contribution. There are certainly arguments for and against any of these or some hybrid system.

Now, I would like the system to limit the explosive growth of small characters for simply being teamed up while much larger characters fight foes the former should reasonably immediately panic away from. On the other hand, I would like to see even non-combatant support characters get some share of the experience. This could perhaps be done by having preparatory buffs link back to the character providing them and any NPC lingering effects carry some portion of the experience pool, such that providing a heal or poison removal can be rewarded as part of the combat experience granted.
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Laurel » 01 Jul 2011 09:21

You're all thinking of rewarding darkness-usage for shutting down dangers, or?

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Tarax the Terrible
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Tarax the Terrible » 01 Jul 2011 19:09

strider wrote:Ultimately, I think this boils down to "What should be encouraged (rewarded) in combat with NPCs?"

I think that first and foremost, player skill and it's close cousin, luck, should be rewarded, such that over time investing thought and energy into being good at fighting pays dividends over simply spending time fighting. This means that the reward for reasonably risky combat needs to be large enough to cover the average player's losses from death and still give an acceptable growth rate; one notably higher than can be achieved by only engaging in safe combat. We need to shift the paradigm from a steady grind, to something more like "two steps forward, one step back" or "puke and rally". The overall growth rate need not be any higher than we see today and in fact should be much lower if players continue risk-averse patterns, but should rather be punctuated by exciting advances and lamentable setbacks.
I strongly agree.
A fight where everyone in the team needs to be paying attention and not relying on triggers.
An encounter.
People will not go for grinding where they can die unless the rewards are much bigger.
The reward over time however should not be bigger than current top grinders.

If you had to spend time preparing and the fight itself was as short as normal but intense throughout.
More like fighting Mergula, but different tactics required to succeed at each.
I am pretty sure every player involved is checking their health and on their toes.
strider wrote: Outside of role playing, which I think would require overly convoluted calculations to attempt a universal role-based bonus system, players tend to initiate combat with NPCs for the 3 Gs: gold, gear and growth. Experience calculations should account and adjust down for these other rewards, especially for rare magical weapons.
Very true about the 3 Gs.
However the experience being less is counter productive to the last point as these are often the more challenging fights.
Say you want to spend the day fighting dragons (a lot of which reward very nice gear if successful).
So you might spend a day or two first working to get the equipment to build up all your resistances first.
Then day 3 your all set and Kill a dragon every 20-30 minutes. It would be great if that was as rewarding as just grinding hard in Gont for the same time.
strider wrote: Somewhat tangentially, between encumbrance and a small on-going need for money, trails of loot are often simply left in people's wakes. I wonder if it wouldn't be interesting if loot left in corpses when they decay began to rust or be otherwise devalued, if not picked up and perhaps wiped with a hardware shop clean cloth. It might be overly taxing on the system to use so many heart beats, so it could just be calculated when picked up and simply crumble if it has been too long. This would leave some interesting edge cases, like dismembered corpses or ingot caused rapid decay.
Waaah no way, bottom feeding is a great source of newbie wealth.
Also there are plenty of options for people to gather the loot as they go without getting encumbered. This would just effect the less sophisticated or smaller players.
strider wrote: Even if they gave no other reward, there are some NPCs who would still be killed simply for their equipment. It has been noted here that some of the best gear in the game is not all that well defended. In addition to adjusting experience to account for other rewards, there should be guidelines regarding the power of gear relative to its ease of acquisition.
Guidelines for that would be useful.
Certain people used to for example always have the Azure Rune Etched longsword due to the quest being repeatable.
The plate armour of Solamnus was another which was got in large amount once a guild had the key.
These things are usually noticed and balanced however.

If you know of something really out of balance post it on the use/abuse thread.
http://www.genesismud.org/forums/viewto ... f=2&t=1462

Some people spend 24/7 of their logged in time equip hunting. There is a certain thrill to the WooWooo runie dropped feeling. It is good they make progress at the same time. Even if it is pitiful compared to taking that same gear to use at an uber grinder.
strider wrote: The suggestions here regarding what could or should go into describing how difficult an NPC is to kill are solid. I might also increase the level based on the spectrum of damage types inflicted and possible counters required for the NPC, as well as for the possible variation in configuration for that type of NPC. It seems to me that these factors might be best used to calculate a challenge rating or difficulty for the NPC on spawn and that experience should given based on a comparison between the character and that number to properly reward based on risk.

Something that has not yet been mentioned in this thread is teams and as a MUD, I think that Genesis needs to reward teaming. Now, teams have some natural advantages, with increased attacks, more hit points, more heal points, etc., that allow them to simply kill more NPCs. Further, depending on how the team's strength is calculated, their ability to take on much larger NPCs should provide each member with a better than linear increase in experience granted.
The benefits to team killing in Genesis are pretty huge (with the right mix)
Firstly there is a team bonus multiplier for the experience.
The team equally shares the exp for the kill times X.

But it is the mix where the best results can happen.
Just to put it into perspective, two people with imm/supreme combat stats with the right guild mix can easily continually grind Icewall, and do it for massive reward. And that is the most difficult of the grinders to get good exp per time out of.
Best case scenario = Pick you tank and your damage specialist, there are quite a few fit either bill.
There is little to no chance they could do as well solo.
The not so good mix is two middle of the road generalist guilds, but most people go into their guilds knowing what they plan to do so its a choice we make.
strider wrote: That does raise the question of how teams should share experience. I've known systems where every team member got the full experience granted from any encounter, others where it was divided between the members, others where experience is granted by criteria like getting the killing strike, and still others where the experience is granted based on proportional size and projected contribution. There are certainly arguments for and against any of these or some hybrid system.

Now, I would like the system to limit the explosive growth of small characters for simply being teamed up while much larger characters fight foes the former should reasonably immediately panic away from. On the other hand, I would like to see even non-combatant support characters get some share of the experience. This could perhaps be done by having preparatory buffs link back to the character providing them and any NPC lingering effects carry some portion of the experience pool, such that providing a heal or poison removal can be rewarded as part of the combat experience granted.
Explosive growth is only achievable when you have your brute well in hand.
Then small characters being led around the good grinders can start to appear to be hurt, as their max con is increasing faster than their health regen.. Pretty sick.

But I have no problem with rapid early growth, if anything I would like to see max brute capped per level, so when a "normal" player with a middle of the road brute is lucky enough to go team killing they don't have a few minutes of rapid growth but then with their brute now up around violent stop seeing much benefit.
The flip side is the cap works both ways, there is a band and a minimum level so for those seconds who have way above "normal" quest exp doesn't mean they can:
"Grow so fast it hurts" TM Tarax inc.
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Strider » 01 Jul 2011 22:45

Laurel wrote:You're all thinking of rewarding darkness-usage for shutting down dangers, or?
If I understand your question correctly, yes.

In so far as the skills and the abilities required to use darkness effectively are taxed and balanced, then using them to their full benefit seems only right. That said, I don't think safe combat should be a good way to grow and I firmly believe the game should at least occasionally try to win. As such, if a group of NPCs is constantly being owned by a particular tactic, in this case being picked off in the dark, at least once in a blue moon they should try something to counter, perhaps dropping fuel and lighting a bonfire in front of the exit and seeing if they can't get in a little payback. Additionally, if there is some set that people believe causes too much consistent winning, I'd like to think that the administration would review and adjust as necessary.
Tarax the Terrible wrote:People will not go for grinding where they can die unless the rewards are much bigger.
The reward over time however should not be bigger than current top grinders.
I may have done the discussion a disservice in trying to use a common term in an overly specific way, and I find our potential disagreement on this very interesting. So, if we can call the method of accumulating combat experience by almost exclusively fighting NPCs that have approximately no chance of killing us, "harvesting", then my argument is that growth by this method should be slowed. The favored method of growth should be the increased risk and reward with actual setbacks method I suggested above. The goal shouldn't be to speed or slow the growth rate of the average player, simply to change the method of accumulation. I imagine many of our top grinders could transition successfully, a few would fail and a few more would cling to the lessened growth path of harvesting.
Tarax the Terrible wrote:However the experience being less is counter productive to the last point as these are often the more challenging fights.
Generally, players will try to maximize their return on combat with the greatest reward, such that if experience is actually equalized, that will concentrate players at NPCs that also give other rewards, to the game's detriment. I may have overshot the mark in my original argument, but experience needs to be tuned and re tuned against other rewards, so for any given challenge level, most players find most NPCs equally worthy of fighting.
Tarax the Terrible wrote:The benefits to team killing in Genesis are pretty huge (with the right mix)
Yes. However, the consensus seems to be that a min/max team of two seems to be awesome, and almost anything else is not. I'm arguing that one of the goals should be to make it so that both large teams and generalist teams are considered valuable.
Tarax the Terrible wrote:This would just effect the less sophisticated or smaller players. [...] But I have no problem with rapid early growth, if anything I would like to see max brute capped per level, so when a "normal" player with a middle of the road brute is lucky enough to go team killing they don't have a few minutes of rapid growth but then with their brute now up around violent stop seeing much benefit.
I was rather lucky to join the game with a substantial group of peers with whom I learned, shared and grew. Without actual peers, the game is harder for new players and my goal is not to pile on top of that or to somehow segregate the small from the community at large. Still, I think it is important that new players don't feel they can only really advance with help, handouts and heavy-lifting from huge, established inhabitants of the donut. Small players should not aspire to be "bottom feeders" or "lucky" to be dragged around; they should be budding heroes in their own right, embarking on the first steps of their own epic saga. That beginning of their path should both feature big jumps of their own making and be littered with their own corpses. Clearly, the tuning of advancement and the limiting of frustration for new players is one of the most important issues for the game. Without arguing that they should somehow pull themselves up by the bootstraps we had back in my day, anymore than I believe Tarax is arguing new players should be beholden to established players and their largess, I am advocating that we adjust so that new players best avenue for advancement does not appear to be in leeching off the large.
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Targun » 02 Jul 2011 17:13

These are exceptionally well written posts Strider. I couldn't agree more, except for a one thing perhaps. The 3G rule is not necessarily extensible at it's aspects on Genesis. The gold factor is controversial one, as for years, after reaching a certain size, earning coins was extremely easy.

In fact, many players don't even bother picking the loot, even if the shopkeeper can be found within very few rooms. At the same time, if an npc is equipped with a set of armours, it obviously goes down at a reasonably slower pace, which kind of countermeasures the benefit of possible extra coins.

Flattening what you described as a 'rocket-growth' for those average and small chars who find themselves in a team consisting of huge players is also a very good idea. Simply, because it may be very discouraging later on, when they realise how slowly they grow on their own- compared to what they've just experienced. Not to mention, such players would miss the possibility to steadily get themselves familiar with the game, whithout being overwhelmed by too many new things at the same time. Therefore a steady, yet swift growth instead of instanteneous boost would be indeed a much better approach.

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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Rhaegar » 15 Nov 2012 10:34

Strider, one thing you seem to forget is that mobs might pose different challange for different guilds, thus arbitrarily setting their "challenge rating" or whatever being responsible for xp reward wouldn't work too well. What should be done is perhaps a system based on the damage the npc has done to you during combat (not potential damage it can do but actual damage done). The more damage you received, the more of a reward you get in experience. If mobs can't hurt you at all = you don't get any exp from them since they're no challenge. This might also solve a part of uber-tanking problem we see now. Pople might take worse armours to get more exp from npcs at the cost of being more vulnerable to player attacks.
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by gorboth » 15 Nov 2012 10:59

Wow ... revival of a 16 month old thread, eh? ;-)

G.
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Rhaegar » 15 Nov 2012 11:04

gorboth wrote:Wow ... revival of a 16 month old thread, eh? ;-)

G.
It was quoted in newer thread but my answer wouldn't fit there so I put it here instead where it's relevant to the topic :)
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Strider » 15 Nov 2012 20:04

Rhaegar wrote:What should be done is perhaps a system based on the damage the npc has done to you during combat (not potential damage it can do but actual damage done). The more damage you received, the more of a reward you get in experience.
This introduces the same issues as cotillion's time based modifier, except that this would especially benefit high CON and healers.
Rhaegar wrote:Strider, one thing you seem to forget is that mobs might pose different challange for different guilds, thus arbitrarily setting their "challenge rating" or whatever being responsible for xp reward wouldn't work too well.
It does seem that mobs have not been adequately considered in this thread.

Now, I think that any system (especially the current one) will have opportunities for specialized "value propositions", but that coupled with guild power and tax balancing, the resulting fabric will be fair in aggregate.

It seems to me that many of the problems arbitrating the value of mobs are actually very similar to our more complex bosses, especially when we consider granting experience to teams of characters. Perhaps the real problem specific to mobs for a challenge based reward system is determining which NPCs constitute the mob, given things like DIS- or darkness based nullification and ad hoc aligned groups (wandering NPCs that fight together if in the same room).
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Re: What is a fair formula to calculate NPC combat exp rewar

Post by Uther » 17 Nov 2012 12:49

Just a question...

Doesn't Genesis have bigger issues atm then to totally change the reward system for combat ?

Just change the monster.c that is included in all npcs to make the npcs scale according to the size/avg size/mortal title size/whatever size of the attacker(s).
If you want a "boss" npc just add monsterboss.c which you can modify yourself, for example .. Balrog of Moria to name one.

Then you can fight whereever you want, you can kill orcs in Sparkle whole day or ogres in Sybarus or hobbits in Hobbiton or guards in Kabal. Name your pick.

Or you can let it be as it has WORKED for over 20 years and still is.

There are more "critical issues" to fix before we even should start meddling with this one.
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