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On the Removal of Friendly Fire: Request for Comment

Apr 29, 2007 incarnate link
This is not the all-encompassing design post I've previously mentioned, but rather I'm breaking things up a bit piecemeal, as it's a bit simpler to only receive feedback on a few concepts at a time. Other posts are going to appear on other, related subjects, as this greater "faction/FF redux" touches on a lot of areas. Please read THE ENTIRE POST before responding. Also, remember, I'm posting this to get feedback, feel free to point out any problems or concerns. This is not cast in stone, the point of these discussions is to make problems visible so we can work ways around them.

This post is derived partially from feedback received here, you should probably read at least the initial bits of this thread:

One of the predominate criticisms was how the new mutual-exclusion faction system would integrate with the various friendly-fire problems (and exploits thereof) that plague the game. People have long wanted us to remove the friendly fire restrictions. I have not done so to date for two reasons: 1) it gives newbies some protection from being preyed upon by more experienced "friendly" pilots, and 2) removing it opens up a rats nest of problems that aren't easy to solve. That said, I think it's been made obvious (long ago) that we need to do *something*, so this is my attempt at dealing with the situation.

The way I see it, allowing non-consensual PvP combat between people of the same Nation, who are ostensibly "friendly" (or supposed to be) requires dealing with a few basic topics: 1) Protecting newbies, both from shooting the first ship they see, and being destroyed to early by newbie-hunting players 2) Defining repercussions for individuals who kill "friendlies" 3) Advancing the ability to quickly identify people who are more dangerous than others, among "friendlies", 4) Creating a mechanism for "forgiving" accidental team-kills during the heat of combat.

Please assume, for the sake of this discussion, that faction standing is a bit less volatile than it is at present, harder to lose and harder to get. The more volatile changes will instead be done via "temporary" status changes (like more common use of Temp KoS for longer periods of time and other repercussions). There are also some references to standing that are framed in the sense of how it's actually implemented in the game.. a number between zero (lowest) and 65536 (highest), rather than how it's displayed in the client. Anyway.. getting on with it, topic #1, newbie protection:

* New Users and Early Advancement *

The removal of Friendly Fire exposes new users to risk from people of their own nation, responses to which are dealt with in the next section. In addition to this, however, we also need to make every effort to train and educate newbies about the how this system works and the general risks of the galaxy. To date, our existing Tutorial missions lay down the very basic early framework, but this mechanism needs to be reworked and expanded in a number of ways:

Specialized Newbie Station Sectors will be implemented, both to protect newbies and to get them involved in combat as quickly as possible, without having to learn any intra-system navigation or course plotting. Each Capitol system would contain at least one such sector, where the totally raw newbies would start. Each newbie would be started in an EC-89 with training weapons that only damage the local Training Drones, and do minimal (but some) damage to other players or factional NPCs. Flight ring pathways ("gates"), similar to our racetracks, would be positioned near the stations to help walk newbies through the basics of flight. Each sector would be heavily defended by turrets and a patrolling strike force. In addition, the sector itself should be laid out such that a fairly large station (lots of exit/docking bays, but not necessarily physically large) would open onto a course of asteroids. Within the field of asteroids, Training Drones would be gradually more difficult the further one went from the station. New users would use these sectors to progress through basic missions: basic flight, combat, intra-sector navigation (using Nav Beacons), and brief introduction to more advanced flight/combat tactics. If newbies damaged each other or local NPCs with their training weapons, they would be admonished and informed of some simple ramifications of this behaviour. Upon completion of these missions they would gain Training Flight Status (accomplishment), allowing them to fly anywhere within the local system (not allowed through wormholes). Their final completion would give them a new mission, teaching them the basics of intra-system navigation, and taking them to their next station, one of the true Capitol stations.

Capitol Station Training would begin at this point. The user would be instructed in more advanced flight tactics and have to face actual dangerous opponents (Collectors) in training missions. Once these were passed, the user would then receive Advanced Training missions dealing with the basics of Trading and Mining. During these missions, more information would be passed to the user, in terms of the layout and structure of the galaxy, the purpose and value of trading in mining (build structure of the universe, baseline economics, how missions are posted, etc). Brief discussion of piracy. The user should need to fly to and fro throughout the current system by this point, doing a little basic trading/delivery, mining/prospecting and hunting down some collector bots. Upon successful completion of the required missions (or other accomplishments), the user would receive Basic Flight Status and be permitted to fly anywhere within the nation space of their chosen nation. In other words, wormhole areas that leave nation space would still be off limits and not permitted. Once receiving Basic Flight Status, they would be offered a new mission that would instruct them on advanced navigation, including navigating between systems, and would take them to another Capitol system.

Nation Space Training would then begin. After fulfilling the advanced navigation requirement, new missions would appear (at all Capitol systems), asking them to do more complex trading, combat and mining tasks. A required mission would teach them about advanced aspects of the faction system (losing, regaining, etc), defeating the hive and nation-vs-nation warfare. In addition, piracy should be dealt with, fringe factions, common PvP behaviour and other common topics. Upon completing all of this sufficiently (probably around level 3 Light Weapons, and maybe similar in other areas), the user would be granted Complete Flight Status, an accomplishment (medal/ribbon) that permits them to leave Nation space and go where they will.

Topic #2, dealing with people who kill friendlies, or in more general terms, defining the lawful structure of the universe.

* Lawful Structure of the Universe *

Vendetta Online breaks down into three types of lawful status: Guarded, Monitored and Unmonitored. In a Guarded sector, any activity which violates the local values (such as the death of an individual they like) is met with immediate and violent reprisal by an automated strike force, in addition to nominal hits in faction standing. In Monitored space, any unapproved altercations are recorded and their faction impact is meted out, but there is no authoritative violent response. Unmonitored space is a complete free-for-all, what happens there stays there, so to speak.

Each respective faction is concerned most about the people they believe are worthwhile. "Worthwhile" is defined as individuals who have sufficiently high standing with the local faction that they are allowed to dock with any stations belonging to said faction (currently, the required faction is Dislike). Anyone who can dock with the local station is a source of economic interest to the local faction, and it is therefore in their best interest to keep them alive. The thinking being: if aggression against economically-worthwhile individuals was allowed to happen unchecked, the reputation of the local faction as a good place to trade would be degraded and might result in a negative financial impact on the given faction's economy. So, for the sake of argument, factions will view negatively any aggression against people who have "Dislike" or higher standing with them.

Individuals with lower than "Dislike" standing with the local faction ("Hate") are considered to be enemies of the faction, and any aggression against them, in any location, is considered a Good Thing(tm). Thus, while factions are not partial to combat activity within their potentially busy and economically important station sectors, they will make an exception for the destruction of Hated individuals. In fact, they will automatically send out Strike Forces and potentially engage with local turrets if such enemies of the faction appear in Guarded sectors (which would include any stations).

* Layout of Lawful Structure

Distribution of the various areas of lawful status is very important, for obvious reasons. Up until now, Guarded sectors have been a rarity associated only with stations, Monitored sectors only in certain newbie bot zones and wormholes, and the rest have been Unmonitored. Due to the removal of friendly fire exclusion, and the potential for nation-on-nation attacks against newbies, this must be restructured. From now on, all Capitol systems will be Guarded. This includes all sectors within capitol systems: empty sectors, asteroid sectors, station and wormhole sectors, etc. "Capitol" systems, for reference, are those where newbies are first started, usually two to three per Nation. The Itani, for instance, have capitols of Itan, Eo and Divinia.

Outside of Capitol systems, within major Nation space, wormholes should be Guarded. In Grayspace, wormholes should continue to only be Monitored, on a case-by-case basis.

* Station Defenses

All stations should have the ability to defend themselves, or deal with aggressors, two means:

Strike Forces, a cadre of military fighter ships and Seekers launched from the station with instructions to hunt down and destroy their enemy. Strike Forces should use the following behaviour, with each strike force being completely destroyed before the next level is launched against the given target.

Level I - Two Vultures and two seekers

Level II - One minute delay after death of previous level before launch. Three Vultures and four seekers.

Level III - Two minute delay. Four vultures, one rocket warthog and five seekers.

Level IV - Five minute delay, then two Level III strike forces. Continues ad infinitum (five minute delay each time).

Station Turrets, floating robust cannon-platforms that take positions near stations, opening fire on enemies who come within range.

* Friendly Kills

Given the removal of friendly-fire exclusions, one of the more critical aspects of lawful interaction within faction or Nation space is dealing with so-called "friendly" aggressors. In this case, an individual creates a character on a given nation, and then assaults other members of that nation (usually newbies) for entertainment. Previously, an exclusion on friendly-fire weapon damage made this effectively impossible, but removal of that system now mandates new mechanisms for responding to this inevitable problem.

One part of this new mechanism is a system for determining who is the "aggressor" in a given situation. Given two individuals (who are NOT in a duel), if one fires weapons against another, and damages them with said weapons fire, the damaging party will be flagged as the "aggressor" in the conflict between said two characters. The "defender" may then respond with lethal weapons fire without fear of negative faction impact or faction reprisal. Should the Defender succeed in responding to the attack and destroy their attacker, fine, no harm done. However, if the "aggressor" destroys the defender, they will be flagged with Temporary Kill On Sight, a Strike Force will be launched from the local station to engage them, and a "friendly kill" marker will be placed on their character.

The "Friendly Kill" counter is conceptually similar to our current vote muting system, where each user vote is a "strike" against the user in question, with votes that expire over a period of time. In this case, each "Kill" marker has an expiration of fourteen days. If a character accrues three of these "kill" counts at any time, they experience a Character Deportation:

1) Their current equipment is moved to Corvus space

2) they become "Temp KoS" with the nation in question for a week, and cannot improve their standing with the nation under KoS.

3) they experience a significant standing loss with that faction, and regaining standing with said faction becomes twice as hard to acquire for one month after their temp KoS status expires (for any given amount of faction given, they receive only half).

Any character who has "Friendly Kills" still sitting on his character record (ie, less than fourteen days, kill markers have not yet expired) should also be degraded to "Uncertain" status with all other members of the same nation, no longer appearing Green on radar to fellow nation members until the markers expire, see "Status Changes" for more info. In addition, the total number of friendly kills in the character's history should be recorded and shown in the character information display to other characters.

Should a character receive three Character Deportations within a 6-month period, they will be "permanently" expelled to Corvus space:

1) Their standing with the nation in question will drop to the lowest level (full KoS).

2) they will be held as "Temp KoS" for a month

3) they will only be able re-acquire standing with said nation at 1/3rd the normal rate for three months after Temp KoS has expired.

4) In addition, they will receive a special "Backstabber" marker on their character information display.

Topic #3, advancing the ability to quickly identify those who are more dangerous amongst "friendlies"

* Friend / Foe Identification and HUD changes *

If we create means to identify those who kill friendlies, that should be propagated through to the radar and other means of immediate identification. For the moment, our friend/foe identification on radar leaves a lot to be desired, and a true solution is rather complex to implement. To make the current system more effective, we can instead change from a two-color model (friend or foe) to a three-color one, showing friend, foe and "uncertain". Friend status (green) would only be given to those who have a good relationship with the user's nation and with a clean record of not killing friendlies. Foe status would only be given to those who have a bad relationship with the user's nation and potentially a record of killing individuals of that nation (outside of duels). "Uncertain" (gray? yellow?) would be used for everything in between.. people of the same nation who had killed friendlies, but not enough to be deported.. people of other factions who were fairly friendly but are largely unknown, and so on.

At the same time, the HUD should be updated in several ways to better inform the user of 1) the repercussions of attacking the selected user and 2) the lawful nature of their whereabouts. In this way, the "selected target" region on the HUD could display, in condensed form, the factions (if any) that would be positively and negatively impacted by killing the selected individual. Simularly, the HUD can centrally display a cue that denotes whether the current sector is Guarded, Monitored or Unmonitored. When a user flies into a Guarded or Monitored sector from one that is Unmonitored or one that is of a different faction, their HUD should also print their relationship with the local faction.

If a user should kill a friendly, that "black mark" could be displayed on their own HUD as well as to others in their character display, to increase their own awareness of potential consequences. In addition, the first time a new character respawns after killing a friendly, they should get a station popup that informs them in greater detail of the potential repercussions of their action.

Topic #4, a mechanism for forgiving accidental friendly kills.

* Forgiveness of Friendly Kills

Due to the combative nature of VO, the existence of high splash-damage weapons and the inevitability of accidents, a "forgiveness" system should be created to prevent the above negative repercussions stemming from accidental scenarios. When a character is destroyed by a friendly in Monitored or Guarded space, and sent back to their home station, before they get a "buy back last ship" pop up, they should get a special popup asking if they believe their death was an accident, and if they would like to forgive the character who killed them. This pop-up should be graphically unique enough that it gets attention and is not mistaken for the "ship buyback" interface.. for instance, a bright red-and-clear 45-degree striped background. It should look unlike other menus, and perhaps only be used for certain "high importance" questions like this.

If the individual chooses to forgive the character in question, the death should be handled the same as if it had occurred in Unmonitored space: no strike force, no negative impact, on Friendly Kill marker, no incrementing of their "total friendly kills" stat. Basically, it never happened.

If the death in question actually *did* happen in unmonitored space, then this popup shouldn't even be used. After all, there's no point.

Expansion of KoS discussion and possibilities for changing Player-faction.

* Meaning of Temporary Kill On Sight

Temp KoS is a mechanism of making a given character persona non grata in the space of a certain faction or Nation. For instance, when a character destroys another character in the Guarded space near a station, the aggressor is temporarily given "Kill On Sight" status, which is normally reserved only for those with standing less than Dislike. The temporary KoS has no long-term impact on the aggressor's standing, however, that is incurred separately from the act of having destroyed someone else in monitored or guarded space. The KoS status makes the station no longer permit the individual to dock, turrets will open fire and a strike force will be launched. KoS also prevents gaining standing with any faction to whom the KoS status applies. By default, KoS status persists until the character dies or is forgiven (see "Forgiveness of Friendly Kills, above). Special exceptions for Deportation and other conditions have been mentioned above.

KoS status has two different "levels" of incursion:

The first is the particular faction with whom the status is incurred. If one acquires KoS status by abusing someone within the space of a particular faction (major or minor), the KoS status will include all other stations and regions where that faction is authoritative.

The second is the umbrella of a larger "Nation". If KoS is established inside the space of a lawful Nation (Itani, Serco, UIT) then the status will be incurred at all other stations and locations under the umbrella of the Nation. In other words, all stations in the lawful space of a major Nation will enforce the laws of that nation, regardless of whether they're of the same minor faction against which the original offense occurred.

In the case of the Itani or Serco, this hardly matters, since all current stations are both factionally and regionally aligned to the respective Nations. In UIT space, however, the situation becomes a little more complex: A user could incur Temp KoS status with a Xang Xi station inside of UIT space, and be KoS at all other stations within UIT territory, and with all Xang Xi stations outside of UIT territory (grayspace). However, outside UIT territory they would not have KoS status minor factions other than Xang Xi, ie, they would be able to dock at a Tunguska station. In this way, KoS status can be seen to propagate on two levels: first the minor faction where the offense is originally incurred, secondly the nation under which the offense was incurred. As another example, a user could acquire KoS at a Xang Xi station in grayspace, they would be KoS only at all other Xang Xi stations. Their status would not back-propagate to the UIT Nation Space, since the original offense did not occur there.

Outside UIT space, enforcement is up to the particular corporation, and given that the events happened outside UIT jurisdiction, they are not of interest to the UIT Senate. This might be seen as an example of how the UIT government chooses to distance itself from the bad behaviour of some of its members outside of its borders.

Please note that this only applies to Temporary Kill On Sight, other long-term faction changes are specific to the respective faction and are incurred separately.

* Changing Player-Character Faction *

As it stands, all users are basically "stuck" with the nation they chose when they created the character. While we are not yet ready to have fully migratory characters (ie, able to change major nation), it should be possible for a player character to become Unaligned. This would happen via a special mechanism (missions) in Corvus stations in grayspace. If a user chose to do this, they would immediately become Temp KoS with all major Nations (Serco, Itani, UIT) for a week, all their Major Nation standings would be cut in half and they would incur a 50% penalty on standing increases with major Nations for the next three months. Unaligned characters would not be allowed to advance beyond "Neutral" with any major Nation, but could progress to any normal extent with minor factions.

The logic to this being, they are essentially giving up their citizenship with the lawful nation who has nurtured and trained them. By turning their back on the lawful nation, they are seen as somewhat traitorous by all other nations (even Itani vs Serco, the Serco may hate the Itani, but they are sticklers for honour). Essentially, this is seen by all Lawful nations as a step to becoming a pirate, and they react appropriately.

The penalties for doing this, however, are not forever (aside from the Neutral standing cap), and it's still possible for Unaligned player characters to pursue roles other than piracy. They are limited in their advancement possibilities with the major nations, who do not trust turncoats, but even that might be possible to change with time. In the long run, there might be difficult mission trees which permitted an unaligned character to apply for citizenship with a major nation.


Ok, that's all for now, feel free to post feedback. Keep in mind, this is only part of a bigger.. process, I have other related bits and pieces that I'm going to be posting. I'm also aware of some issues in the above design, and I'm not totally sure of all the numbers, but its more of the general concepts on which I need feedback. New things like.. avalon torpedoes and the like, will make it much more difficult to not accidentally kill friendlies in large-scale combat situations. We may have to deal with this via temporary group-based friendly fire, with ways of linking multiple groups. Or, most simply, be sure to only hold large-scale combat in unmonitored space and let people with large weapons warn their teams.

Anyway, I know it's not the whole design, but it's something to chew on for now, and this needs to be somewhat piecemeal anyway, as it'll be implemented that way. Thanks everyone.
Apr 29, 2007 moldyman link
Few niggling points to an overall awesome concept:

1. When you say some grayspace wormholes monitored, you mean like Ukari L-2 or Edras B-11? ie, the borders of the "lawful" nations.

2. For the Friendly Kills marker, I'm sort of against the moving equipment to Corvus. Roleplay wise, it's a little odd. Also, if the stuff isn't moved, it can be seen as "frozen assets", another reprecussion of killing friendlies. They get them back eventually, if they behave, right?

3. The three Character Deporatations thing. Make the penalty slightly higher. From 0 to -201, so they are at Dislike. My reasoning is that someone exiled three times in x amount of time will be noticed as someone not to be trusted easily.

4. The "Uncertain" marker, you could make it a light blue. I used a program called GLStuff, which had an option to make the radar green dots blue. Anyway, moving on, I found that I could see those dots easily. Also, a sky blue doesn't necessarily indicate hostility.

Besides that, it really looks well thought out. :D
Apr 29, 2007 incarnate link
The "zero" that I refer to after three character deportation is absolute zero, or the lowest possible standing (full kill on sight). I made a note at the beginning about referring in the 0-65536 sense and not the way it's displayed in the client. I know that's a bit confusing, but I wrote it for.. well, people who would be likely to implement it :). I'll go ahead and edit that for the purposes of this discussion.

For which wormholes are monitored in grayspace, it would be kind of a case-by-case basis, but yes, border wormholes would certainly make sense.

The "frozen assets" thing is fine with me, after all, that's simpler. But I was reluctant to dump a person on the doorstep, so to speak, with none of their stuff. Seemed kind of harsh. But, maybe it'd be better. More feedback on that appreciated.
Apr 29, 2007 moldyman link
Cool :) I'll make sure to reread, see if I missed anything else.

Oh, thought of one more thing, though this goes beyond the whole scope of your first post.

About the pirates, for permanent standing drops. What if attacking within UIT monitored space gives the player half the loss with all factions in the system? Say that word spreads. But if the player killed someone in say TPG, space, it wouldn't go beyond them and the UIT.


Killing in a UIT monitored wormhole in Azek lowers your UIT standing by 300, and your TPG and Orion standing by 150 (the Corps in that system).

But killing in Azek I-4 (I think), the Orion station, lowers your standing say 300 with Orion, and 150 with the UIT, but none with TPG.

It could get more in depth with that depending on a Corp's perceived "morals", like TPG being the "almighty honorable" ones, but this is my basic jist.
Apr 30, 2007 jexkerome link
Hmm, I like pretty much everything I see, particularly the temporary KOS measures. I do have a problem, however, with the delays between the SF launches. It seems to me they should be other way around, i.e. each successive wave should appear a bit sooner that the last. Lemme try to explain better:

Level I - Two Vultures and two seekers; these launch immediately, since it makes sense to always have forces on standby for an emergency.

Level II - Three Vultures and four seekers. Let's change the delay here to four minutes; the reasoning is that the first level were the first responders, and then it takes time for the next wave to be prepped and launched.

Level III - Three minute delay. Four vultures, one rocket warthog and five seekers. Since the enemy has been proven able to either avoid or deal with the previous waves, the station goes on full-alert status, with pilots rushing to the ready-room and fighters being warmed up and prepped by the mechs. So now at three minutes this third wave deploys faster than the previous one.

Level IV - Two Level III strike forces, continues ad infinitum. The station's on a full warpath now, and the waves now deploy in intervals of two minutes. By now the enemy has proven to be a real threat, so it is only understandable that everything up to and including the kitchen sink will be thrown at him to either destroy him or drive him off.

This would put increasing pressure on the invader, even if he is of the "spam and run" variety. Since these waves deploy far more frequently, there could be a chance the sector begins to suffer from too many ships if the perp sticks around for too long, but in my experience with station stalkers, they usually run out of ammo and jump away long before an appreciable number of SF bots are in play.
Apr 30, 2007 incarnate link

Yeah, I've considered propagation ideas like that. I'm trying to keep it simple for now, because I want the inter-faction relations to become dynamic (a topic for a whole other post). Ie, minor factions periodically going to war, making peace, competing, falling out and so on.. driven by a combination of game events (player behaviour) and an ongoing storyline. This doesn't make propagation impossible at all, but it does mean that you have to have some "relationship multiplier" to dynamically figure out how much faction A cares that someone was killed at faction B, and so on. It also becomes more difficult for a player to assess the impact of their potential kills (given a dynamic system), or at least more complex to display.. one can still use the concepts described above, but they would have to be updated regularly and keep up with changing political climates. It's all doable, but.. more complex.

For the moment, I'm trying to keep things simple, where I can. I want to get things implemented and then see about expanding down the line, once it's stabilized.


Strike Force timing thing noted. Probably a good idea, I forget why I structured it the other way.
Apr 30, 2007 Ghost link
This sounds awesome.

In regards to the way new players will be handled, I love it. The idea of keeping them restricted to nation space and even certain areas within nation space until they pass certain training missions is perfect. This is finally the kind of introduction that Vendetta needs. Holding new players back in nation space for even just a little bit will make the universe seem that much bigger and more interesting. The more in depth training missions will do a LOT for content as well. We're starting to get away from the "here's your gun, now point and shoot" feel of vendetta. Loved the other ideas mentioned in this section as well.

The one suggestion I have for this part has to do with the way strike forces will be handled. The delay is an interesting idea, but 5 minutes is a loooong time in Vendetta. Maybe instead of having the delay increase with each wave, have them be consistent? Maybe there's a 1 minute delay after the current wave is killed each time.

Station turrets: Love it. This is something Vendetta has been missing forever and has been on the suggestions forum over and over again.

In regards to the way friendly kills are being handled. All good ideas, the only thing I'm wondering is if 3 friendly kills is a bit little for being punished with exile. What if there were an intermediate penalty? Something such as restricting weapon/ship access from your friendly nation for a week and a faction decrease. If the pilot then continues his behavior and reaches 5 friendly kills, then he could be exiled. And the "forgive" option is a great idea and a must with this system.

Also, just a note that goes hand in hand with this. We need to make sure that the "aggressor flag" that's triggered when one ship fires on another applies to NPC's as well. As it is now, CtC bots can fire on you outside a station with no strike force response, but the minute you fire back they come after you.

In regards to mass friendly casualties caused by avalons: I'd say just decrease the blast radius a little bit. Other than that it should be up to the players to communicate and get out of the way. No need to cater to pilots here. As long as the blast radious isn't ridiculously large, it's only realistic that friendly ships clear out of the way of a bombing run. I'd say just make sure that people aren't getting incinerated while 1500m away from the blast. Personally I think the blast radius of cap ships in general is a bit large, but that's another topic.

More related to faction: Have you decided if/which factions will be mutually exclusive?

Edit: Wow, a lot of people posted in the time it took me to compile that. Some of the above points may have been stated now.
Apr 30, 2007 vIsitor link
Ah, very good incarnate. This might actually work (especially if you get the turrets to work).

As for the repercussions of attacking someone within Union Territory, I would imagine that the UIT Senate would only pressure the core-world corporations to do anything about the person in question, as Corporations in unclaimed ('grey') space are outside of their direct jurisdiction (and the good Lord knows how hard it is to approve military action with the Senate).

Obviously, if you kill someone in Union Territory, the non-union Corporations are not likely to care unless it was one of their couriers that bit the green weenie. The exception could, conceivably, extend to players with missions granted by those factions as well as NPCs.

Also, actions of players in one nation, such as the territory of the Order of Eo (the Itani), should not propagate into Union Space unless the individual that came to harm was, in fact, a Union Citizen (i.e. a NPC or a UIT player with good UIT standing).

Also, the offender's Serco standing going up as the players Itani standing tanks. Naturally, this could work both ways.

As for migrating to other factions, I would agree on holding off on major-nation changes, but a player should be able to say that they 'belong' to a minor faction, provided they are first admired with the same faction.

But, a player should not be allowed to simultaneously 'belong' to several factions at the same time. This also necessitates the need for a cool-down timer for switching factions, and require the player to be docked with a station belonging to the faction in question, so that the alignment attribute can not be (easily) abused.
Apr 30, 2007 FatStrat85 link
The way you described it, I see the first few hours of play for a new player being kind of like a single-player game with lots of PvE stuff to do, kind of like a mini-universe/mini-game within a single sector. Once you master that, you are allowed to wander off into multi-player land where you can get picked on. I love it.
Apr 30, 2007 Roda Slane link
Almost none of your ideas are completely unique, due mostly to the fact that just about every other mmolrpg that has allowed non consensual pvp has attempted to address these very same issues. none have done it perfectly, but some have certainly done it much better than others, and most have simple disallowed non consensual pvp altogether.

You have to a large degree identified that one of the first goals is to identify the pk (player killer). but i doubt you can imagine the lengths some players will go to, to avoid being thus identified. I see at least one major exploit in your system, and i wasn't even looking for any. griefers will often go to extreme measures to intentionally ruin the game for others.

your current systems limits the damage a griefer can do, by limiting the penalties any given player can suffer. any thing that happens in the current system can be recovered from, with inconveniences typically measured in minutes to days.

no system is perfect, and thus, no circumstance should be unrecoverable. you may well have killers that will kill over and over again, and your goal here is not to stop them, but rather, to slow them down. if the pk has to do even an hours worth of work in between kills, you have imposed a significant limiter on the damage they can do. by limiting the extent of the penalty itself, you limited the damage that could be accrued by a fault in the system. if a newb falls victim to an exploit or fallacy, they can recover from it, and will eventually adapt strategies to avoid that circumstance. some of the penalties you have mention here are in the extreme, and i advise you to reconsider. if i make a point of flying into friendly fire, for the purpose of griefing players, the damages to newbs that you have proposed are effectively unrecoverable.

many of your other ideas are very good, and i would like to take this opportunity to offer refinements.

when a player suffers from friendly fire, they should be offered the opportunity to "file a criminal report". this is basically saying what you already said, but with a different presentation. i could go on to justify this form of presentation, but i imagine you can form the same thought processes yourself.

you have never created "instancing". instancing is where two or more players see the same part of the game, but may not be able to see each other. instancing is used as a method to limit pvp, and while i generally oppose limiting pvp, i think it may be of some use to you here in training up true newbs. a true newb would be trained on a simulator planet side. this would effectively be an instance, where every newb would see the same system, but would not see any other player. no other player would be able to directly affect them until they past the simulation stage and where transfered to a capital station. this would guaranty that a newb would be completely immune from pvp until at least a certain proficiency is achieved. you can call it the space academy or w/e

your opening post was very elaborate, and i think i will have to read it again to see if i have any more thoughts on it.
Apr 30, 2007 MSKanaka link
Looks great, Inc. I definitely agree with those who have said the delays between SF groups need to be lowered--in fact, I think a slightly different version of Jex's would be better:

Level I - Two Vultures and two seekers; these launch immediately, since it makes sense to always have forces on standby for an emergency.

Level II - Three Vultures and four seekers. If it has been four minutes since the purpetrator was first engaged and they are still in the sector, launch this SF anyway. The reasoning here, as with Jex's, is that the first level were the first responders, and then it takes time for the next wave to be prepped and launched. Also, the way the system is set (as described in Incarnate's post), the aggressor could simply kill off all but one of the Level I SF and proceed as normal, indefinitely, assuming they were using energy weapons and not ammo-based ones.

Level III - If after three more minutes (a total of seven) the offending target is still in the sector, launch four vultures, one rocket warthog and five seekers launch as the Level III SF immediately. Since the enemy has been proven able to either avoid or deal with the previous waves, the station goes on full-alert status, with pilots rushing to the ready-room and fighters being warmed up and prepped by the mechs. So now at three minutes this third wave deploys faster than the previous one.

Level IV - Two Level III strike forces will continue to launch ad infinitum after an additional two minutes of the hostile pilot's presence in the sector. The waves will deploy in intervals of two minutes, regardless of whether the previous wave(s) have been destroyed or not.

If at any time during the response of Level I-III SFs the current wave is destroyed, the time remaining to the deployment of the next SF level is halved.


Real avalons have a blast radius of 210m, not 2km. The avalons you're used to seeing are the Dev avalons, which deal more damage and have a higher blast radius than the player version of them. So, unless the devs give us something closer to their version of the avalon when they're reintroduced, I don't think there will be many issues of that sort.

EDIT: Roda's got a good idea there. I seriously doubt that any major faction would just strap a nugget into an EC-89's crash chair and say "here you go, take some training missions and you'll be all set to wander the universe." It makes sense that they would train the pilot planet-side first on simulators, and after a given level of proficiency has been provent, the pilot would be transferred to a Capitol station in orbit (if they were Serco or Itani, if they're UIT, they're just given a ship) and given a ship to finish their real training with.
Apr 30, 2007 jackscream link
I think being in a group should be an exception. Your shots should NOT harm others in your group ... after all, you invited them to begin with.

In fact, duels aside, members of your own guild should also be friendly-fire-proof.

And just to top it off, have the friendly-fire setting be switchable/bindable - just in case you REALLY want to blast another player.
Apr 30, 2007 muterman10 link
My first concern with your system is the way UIT faction will be handled in regards to KOS status.

The way I understand it, if I have bad UIT faction, it means I can't land at any subfaction station in UIT space. However, the only reason I have hated UIT faction is because it was the only way to bypass friendly fire restrictions.

Will you offer some means to restore faction to us? I doubt many pirates would have chosen to tank their major faction standing had FF not been an issue.

Secondly, should we choose to change to a corvus faction, or unaligned, what are our options in regards to nation specific ships? At them moment, serco and Itani make a killing selling N3s to UIT pilots. Will this capability eventually make purchasing ships from players possible too? I ask because while many of us have wanted for a long time to switch to corvus faction, it appears that you're now offering the possibility, but it comes with no advantages, and tons of disadvantages. Offered as it is, I can see no reason anyone would want to switch to Corvus Faction.
Apr 30, 2007 FatStrat85 link
Yes, players should be able to give or sell ships to other players. This would be important.
Apr 30, 2007 jexkerome link

When the faction system comes in play, UIT players will be asked to choose the factions he wishes to keep, so don't worry.

Second, I never heard of UIT buying N3s off Serco and Itani. It is far easier to get them from shooting at unrats.

Ships should be able to be sold to someone else, yes, but if you're dumb enough to fly, for example, into Itanispace with a Valk when you're not supposed to be able to fly one, there should be repercussions.
Apr 30, 2007 muterman10 link

Thanks for the explaination, but it still isn't quite clear. According to Incs post, there is an overall UIT faction, and all the sub factions faction standing. If you don't have UIT faction, you cannot land at sub faction stations in UIT space. Will our UIT standing be corrected when we're offer the choice of sub factions?

As far as N3s, I've purchased hundreds, in addition to UC batteries, occasionally mining badge scanners and beams, and some other stuff. It's quite common.
Apr 30, 2007 jexkerome link
Yes, the adjustments will be done at least for the nation factions, i.e. UIT, Serco and Itani. I'm not sure if you will be asked about subfactions, though, but maybe Corvus.

And yes, I know people buy lots of stuff, but since N3s can be had easily by shooting NPCs, unlike UCs and HD beams that can only come from players, I had no idea anyone was buying them directly from the source.
Apr 30, 2007 incarnate link
Roda: There essentially is no real penalty until a given individual kills *3* friendly players. I admit, you might be able to fly into the shots of an unintending newbie once or twice, but to kill yourself on their shots three times? They would have to be pretty unaware. Not to mention, they could not be complete newbies, since baseline newbies will not have weapons that can damage other players. Beyond the immediate temporary KoS, there are no real long-term implications until three friendlies have died and their deaths unforgiven. If one kills two friendlies, those markers expire over a period of two weeks. So basically, the limitation is simply that any given character may only "grief" 3 friendly individuals within a 14-day period. As you say, it is impossible to have non-consensual PvP and not have people killing, but if one can rate-limit it to an acceptable ballpark, it might result in a reasonable balance.

In addition, it is not, as you claim, impossible to recover from any of these penalty scenarios. More difficult, to be sure, than what exists currently.. especially given how easy it to regain standing at present. But not impossible. Even if they experience a "permanent" deportation, which with the above definition requires killing 9 friendlies and being deported three different times, it's still possible to recover. All the penalties have time limits.

It's like the concept of an exponentially increasing penalty. It isn't laid out quite like that above, but it would easy to juggle the numbers to make the "first" deportation relatively minor and each successive one more unpleasant, until the character was permanently deported. The idea being, if you cannot prevent a given behaviour, you simply provide a curve of negative reinforcement, which in and of itself still does not *stop* the behaviour, but keeps it at a lower *rate*.. which is the point.

The situation that this predominately does not deal with is people continually deleting and making new characters, getting them as far as the system-wide training mission, and then attacking friendlies. And ultimately, people making new accounts to do the same. But neither of these are entirely preventable, given an online game, and we already have people exploiting friendly fire *protection* within the game. It's a catch-22 either way, and most games, as you point out, get "around" it by simply having less open-ended gameplay. That may still be our only option, but I'm willing to at least entertain and discuss other prospects.

I'm aware of the risky road we walk with removing friendly fire restrictions. This is why we haven't removed it, to date, heh.

Instancing newbie start areas is a very old idea, and one we've kicked around, but I'm not convinced that it would be a good development-time to benefit ratio. It wouldn't be very useful beyond the very initial flight training (the first 20 minutes of the game?).. which should already be fairly safe, in theory. It's like the idea of "protecting" anyone.. eventually you have to introduce them to the Real World, and in this case, our real world involves people shooting other people. The sooner they get training about who they can shoot, and who not to shoot, the better, and if it involves a slight danger.. I can live with that. Giving them nerf weapons lessens the danger of them injuring one another or anyone else very seriously, so then the biggest risk becomes more experienced players flying into newbie zones to pick on them.. and we should be able to defend against that.

Another point worth considering is the ever-present idea of weapons having to be "enabled" by the player. Letting them shut down and power up with some mild time delay, and a change in aggression status to the rest of the world. Anyway, I'm tired and will have to ponder this all more tomorrow.

Thanks for the continued feedback everyone, keep it coming.
Apr 30, 2007 Phaserlight link
Sounds way cool Inc!

I'll echo ghost that the progressive flight status seems like it would make exploring the universe that much more rewarding. can't wait to see the newbie station sectors with the asteroid bot courses and flight rings and mega-turrets n' such.

(question: what if a newbie gets temp KOS but can't leave the sector?)

I like the "frozen assets" suggestion, sounds more like being exiled and less like getting kicked out of your girlfriend's apartment. Getting their stuff back would also give deportees a possible motive to work their faction standing back up.

One general thing that struck me reading through the post is that getting deported, marked as a backstabber or unaligned probably sounds cool to some players but according to the design would make life very difficult (as it should be). After all with FF protection removed would being marked unaligned have any advantages? Potentially getting dogged by the strike force at every turn and having limited docking options is a hefty price to pay. Don't forget the seed of good in the bad! If your faction is necessarily gimped by accident or choice, it should come with one or two unique advantages imho (in the form of a weapon or mission or ship). I'd hope to see a renegade cannon, unaligned mission tree, or something to that effect to counterbalance the penalty in some small degree.
Apr 30, 2007 incarnate link
I would expect that criminals would only really trust other criminals. So, to an extent, one could only achieve the less reputable trees if one had a less reputable "rap sheet", so to speak. All things are tradeoffs, of course. But I do not expect that the path of the pirate / criminal would be an easy one.

If a newbie gets temp KoS but can't flee, well, I expect they'll die pretty quickly. The bigger problem comes if a newbie manages to get deported. Anyway, these holes are there, but I'm sure there are reasonable solutions to them :).