Ueda

design The case against punishing for PvP crimes

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Dear Ninja,

Here's another long form design rant. If you haven't seen the first one, read about the balance philosophy here. These development logs are less visually appealing, but give just as much insight about the future of the game. So if you're interested in game development, you'll probably enjoy my walls of text!

The Problem

This one is titled "the case against punishing for PvP crimes" to emphasize how much of a choice and dilemma this has been for the game. In the past, when a player for example, killed an enemy ninja repeatedly too many times, they were in a situation where they could squeal on the killer in order to get justice. There was a gray line between what was allowed and what wasn't in some situations eg. which paths can you block / how many tiles away your traps have to be from the entrance, and even if it was clear in cases, the moderation and punishment of said crimes would come down to subjective bias (how close are you to the moderation team, what terms are you on with an admin, your reputation as a player, what village you're from and the GM handling your case etc.).

Not all players would report being harassed, because some players can deal with it and understand that dying to enemies in an Open PvP world is part of the game experience.

Before I go any further, because I think your rage meter is filling up and you're about to comment how stupid I am down below, I'm going to state that I completely understand that it is not fun once a certain threshold is passed and that no single player should have that much control over another player's experience. It is not fun to be dominated (unless you're into that) by another player and spawn killed for hours. It is not fun to be surprised by traps when you walk into a door (unless you're into that) with no counter play possible.

My point in this case is only to explain why moderation is not the solution, and explain the real solutions and why it takes awhile to get them done.

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If the game allows you to do it without cheating or exploiting any glitches, you should be free to do it. In the same way that Tigers not being able to walk on water or swim can be used to the ninja's advantage. These design choices. In the past, rules seemed grey about trapping enemies around corners to deal damage to them without getting damage in return. But they were always very clear, as long as you did not abuse any glitches (eg. using 3 players to block off the mob's target player, making it endlessly try to hit that player specifically, and not hit any), it is part of the game's design. You are free to use the terrain to trap enemies. In the same way, if the game allows you to place traps on the warp tiles (not a glitch) we cannot punish you for doing what the game allows you to.

In the past, moderating these crimes on a case by case basis was a he said she said situation of finding out who is guilty. Which is like bringing two players to court for one persons accusations each time somebody is unhappy about being harassed. We would then have to hear the other side of the story and then the other side again, and again to find out when the cycle of hate began.

The biggest lesson I learned from trying to moderate this is that - rarely ever will anyone just decides hey I want to spend the next 3 hours killing the same guy to ruin his day. In most cases, the player has good reason to. Sometimes that player has a mission that requires him to kill X number of enemies (and since the game allows you to kill the same people, why not?) - design problem not moderation problem. Sometimes that player has a bounty, so is being rewarded for repeatedly killing the victim. A lot of the time the player being killed endlessly had triggered feelings of injustice by killing another of that player's lowbie villager whom is now being avenged.

In all of these cases, the moderation of said case is grey. It is also design problems, that the game doesn't punish you and sometimes even rewards you for hindering another player's experience. In some of these cases, it is intended. A world where open world PvP and leaving your village to find being a missing ninja is hard for example. In some cases, it isn't intended. A world where getting spawn camped for 3 hours is okay for example.

So what defined harassment in open world PvP with actual factions that are opposed to one another? Is killing a player 3 or 4 times in an hour too much? Even if it is completely within character to do so (eg. Sand killing leafs is intended). Regardless so, it is still not the moderation team's job to ban each case of people deciding to play the game - the way the game allows them to. The job of the moderation team is to ban people who are playing the game in ways the game doesn't allow them to by cheating or using 3rd party programs, or offending another player out of character.

The solution

As time goes by and cases of "this isn't fun" happens. We learn what kind of behaviors to encourage in the game, and what kind not to. There are things overlooked like placing traps wherever you want sounds great in theory, but is highly annoying when done on warp tiles and around them. The solution is from a development and design. For example, preventing putting traps on tiles that are too close to the warp tile manually.

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Not fun being killed 4 times in a row by an enemy just because it completes his mission? The game shouldn't allow him to complete his mission that way. Not fun being killed for 3 hours in a row for now reason? The game should make it harder for him to accomplish that with guard NPCs or No Fighting Zones which allow you to sneak out. Not fun being killed for 3 hours endlessly because you killed a lowbie from his village?

Stop being a dick and expect to get away with it you dumbass.

Regards,
Rory

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Seems like some people forgot the last question and answer on the genin exam :P

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Great post. You don't know how many times people would try and weaponize the moderators to get players in trouble for doing something they didn't like.

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Just to put it out. The traps we're fine for so long. Every weapon master knew (maybe some newbies who didn't know any better at first not, but later learned it) that you could not trap entrances, 3-tile rule was made, 1-tile rule was made.

It was like a code of honor to follow as a WM. But everything changed when the leaf nation attacked. Reports were flying out, nothing happened. Beforehand people, me included we're suspended for such behavior.

Suddenly there were more rule-breaking, I've tried to report them for something that I've been suspended before again only to get, "This is now allowed." when before the whole L playerbase was screaming how un-fair it was and to get people suspended.

You may fix or find solution to something. But players still abuse the game one way or another. Unless you start punishing everyone and not just those that get the most reports. (Favoritism btw)

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52 minutes ago, Yukimura said:

Just to put it out. The traps we're fine for so long. Every weapon master knew (maybe some newbies who didn't know any better at first not, but later learned it) that you could not trap entrances, 3-tile rule was made, 1-tile rule was made.

It was like a code of honor to follow as a WM. But everything changed when the leaf nation attacked. Reports were flying out, nothing happened. Beforehand people, me included we're suspended for such behavior.

Suddenly there were more rule-breaking, I've tried to report them for something that I've been suspended before again only to get, "This is now allowed." when before the whole L playerbase was screaming how un-fair it was and to get people suspended.

You may fix or find solution to something. But players still abuse the game one way or another. Unless you start punishing everyone and not just those that get the most reports. (Favoritism btw)

Doesn't mean that if you fix something, people find other things to abuse and complaint about, you just not fix things.

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52 minutes ago, Yukimura said:

But everything changed when the leaf nation attacked. Reports were flying out, nothing happened. Beforehand people, me included we're suspended for such behavior.

Lol you reported me for attacking you at the bounty station and I have a permanent warning point on my account because of it you flaming hypocrite.

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18 minutes ago, Mikecw said:

Lol you reported me for attacking you at the bounty station and I have a permanent warning point on my account because of it you flaming hypocrite.

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Because you we're not allowed to kill there and you failed to follow that rule.

@Rory I'm not saying don't fix things, fix them of course. Im simply pointing it out for future events. If there is abuse of any-kind, investigate and punish. You may fix problems, but the troublemakers won't go.

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Can't it be hard coded that when trap is near to change map, they disappear?

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@Yukimura for future reference:

We're = We are

Were = second person past

E.g. We're going to play now.

E.g. You were at the shop an hour ago.

 

(not being a dick lol genuinely helping)

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You mentioned quite a few times that you should be able to do things that the game allows, in that case would it be possible to make it impossible to lay traps in areas close to warp tiles? That way you won't have to rely on people finding this topic.

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FINALLY! Oh my gosh, Rory you are a hero. I've been saying this exact same stuff for ages. So glad the admin team is finally done dealing with "he said she said" bull shit and focusing on fixing the root of the problem and game development.

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5 hours ago, Yukimura said:

Because you we're not allowed to kill there and you failed to follow that rule.

@Rory I'm not saying don't fix things, fix them of course. Im simply pointing it out for future events. If there is abuse of any-kind, investigate and punish. You may fix problems, but the troublemakers won't go.


Okay, but I feel like you've missed the point. I'm saying this isn't abuse and that it doesn't break any rules and hence should not be investigated, and should not be punished. I'm saying it's a fixable problem.

 

3 hours ago, Tatsumagi said:

You mentioned quite a few times that you should be able to do things that the game allows, in that case would it be possible to make it impossible to lay traps in areas close to warp tiles? That way you won't have to rely on people finding this topic.

Yeah, that's mentioned in the OP as something that's coming. :)

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Heres my 2 cents on traps. The game sort of lacks in the department of diverse combat choices. I mean think about this....In Naruto When you have 20-30 people wanting to rush in and attack a village or enemy ninja all at once what would stop them? Usually the Ninja being Ninja used the tools available to them to fight. Why is that idea being flung aside and punished in this game? Resource, tatics,etc are all part of being a ninja. I say to this if you want to say traps are bad in a ninja game then make traps have actual designed function and counterfunction in the game. Simple.  Give players who want to be stealthy that option and give opponents the ability to disarm said traps with a reasonable counter option. I mean the gameplay function is whats at question and not the players using them....I dunno thats just my opinion.

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I wouldn't mind people trapping where they wished, but there is a flaw. If given enough time which doesn't take long they can always win a fight 100% of the time. People can spam traps at entrances especially bear traps and take all your health or leave you stunned. Now what can be done to prevent this? There is nothing! You can't stealth past a trap! "Well, Wolf you can just use substitution on entrance." Here is the thing though.... Trappers usually sit in front of a trap too! So either way you are paralyzed for them to combo enough to kill you without you even being able to attack/move! 

To summarize:

  • First, there should be "no trap" placement tiles in front of all spawn/hospital zones because that affects everyone, not just your target and is obnoxious. As for other entrances that is up to debate, I see both sides. People are constantly spying, avoiding damage through map switching, so in that situation traps seem okay, but if some wandering lad is coming by rip.
  • Second, as Tetsu said, there should be a way to counter traps so that you aren't getting hit by trap and dying no matter what you do.
  • Third, if the first to conditions are met, let traps be wherever else they wish to be. Traps should be playable, but like all masteries, it shouldn't have a way where there is no counter to the jutsu.

Another Possible Solution?

Add a mechanic where they got to detonate certain traps. A double tap option.

 

But in regards to Rory's main point of how these players aren't breaking rules, there are just certain flaws in the game at this point of time I agree. There are certain aspects whereas the game itself is what is getting you killed. You can't punish players for playing. Also, GM's/Admins have a hard time passing judgement on cases because they don't know the past history of the actions between the two players. Someone might be killing someone on sight because that is what was done to them. Would it be fair to pass judgement on the latest offender for retaliating against someone who got away with doing it the first time? I don't think so. 

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6 hours ago, TetsuHawk said:

Heres my 2 cents on traps. The game sort of lacks in the department of diverse combat choices. I mean think about this....In Naruto When you have 20-30 people wanting to rush in and attack a village or enemy ninja all at once what would stop them? Usually the Ninja being Ninja used the tools available to them to fight. Why is that idea being flung aside and punished in this game? Resource, tatics,etc are all part of being a ninja. I say to this if you want to say traps are bad in a ninja game then make traps have actual designed function and counterfunction in the game. Simple.  Give players who want to be stealthy that option and give opponents the ability to disarm said traps with a reasonable counter option. I mean the gameplay function is whats at question and not the players using them....I dunno thats just my opinion.

It's not about using traps to protect the village. I'm saying its not fun to change maps and die without having any counter play. Traps are always going to exist. Just not on the warp tiles and surrounding areas so people have a chance to react.

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I have to voice my full support. Once it becomes impossible to place tags near a zone change, this issue will go away. 

 

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Update from February. We've eliminated placing traps on warp tiles and around important areas in the game, and we've also stopped rewarding players for spam killing people for their mission requirements.

Here's my response to Waging War / Bounty mission complaints.

Read this article from February. Then the message below.






Solving one problem creates another.
Now the player killers want to be rewarded for spam killing.

Understandably, when something that was doable before due to oversight/incompleteness, it's not fun when it becomes harder. But that's inevitable.
It's way less fun to be spam killed for somebody else's mission requirements.

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