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Sneftel

Preventing kamikaze griefing

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Alright, here's the deal. In the game I'm currently working on, a PvP-heavy naval combat MMO, each player controls a battleship (of sorts) and fights other battleships. Now, one of the things that can happen during combat is two ships running into each other. This causes a large amount of damage to both. I want to keep this damage rule in place, because continuously running into your opponent drastically decreases their tactical options... I don't want every battle to become "who can get alongside the fastest". So a potential griefing strategy would be for a low-level character (weak battleship), possibly on a just-created account, to intentionally ram larger ships, causing damage to both but only really annoying the higher-level (non-griefing) player. The obvious solution is to not let low-level ships cause any ramming damage to high-level ships. However, that leads to the potential for a reverse griefing strategy, where high-level ships grief low-level ships by running into them with impunity. The basic complicating factor is that it is unclear whose fault the ramming was. Indeed, accidental collisions WILL occur (especially with newer players) and I don't want to penalize either player as a griefer when this happens. Ideas?

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Would it be possible to keep track of how many times someone kamikazes themself? If someone plays a 100 games and dies by ramming each time, then it's pretty obvious what their "tactics" are. Of course you would need a method to tell which ship did the rammming so that the victims didn't wind up in ban land as well.

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Do the ships have any concept of hull strength? If they do (and it relates to level) then couldnt you just factor in this, so the greater the hull strength the less damage take or/and more damage given.

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Original post by Scet
Would it be possible to keep track of how many times someone kamikazes themself? If someone plays a 100 games and dies by ramming each time, then it's pretty obvious what their "tactics" are. Of course you would need a method to tell which ship did the rammming so that the victims didn't wind up in ban land as well.

That's true. You wouldn't even need to know who was doing the ramming, since someone involved in so many rams probably had some part in them. The problem is, it's sort of slow to kick in. Given that this may well be a free or mostly-free MMO, I don't want banned players to just turn around and create a new account for griefing. I also don't want newbies being converted into griefers by being handed such an easy and powerful griefing tactic.

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Original post by Moomin
Do the ships have any concept of hull strength? If they do (and it relates to level) then couldnt you just factor in this, so the greater the hull strength the less damage take or/and more damage given.

Yes, but then you get into a situation where high-level players are encouraged to ram low-level players in order to get a quick win. In particular, it means that a large group of small ships would have little chance against a single large ship. Bullying is always a problem in PvP MMOs, but that sort of an unbalancing factor could make it even worse. It's probably the most tenable option I have so far, though.

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Could you post more gameplay info. Cause I don't really get it. Doesn't the rammer lose its ship. Surely , on a newly created account you wouldn't have enough resources to get anoother ship after you sink your one.

And a nice way to control it is to make it possible for better equiped ships to have some sort of anti ramming equipment, like short range but very manouverable torpedos, or can just be faster and more agile, alowing the bigger player to enjoy some nice dodging manouvers on its side (think toreador and a bull).

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Original post by Radan
Could you post more gameplay info. Cause I don't really get it. Doesn't the rammer lose its ship. Surely , on a newly created account you wouldn't have enough resources to get anoother ship after you sink your one.

It's one player==one ship, and there's no permadeath. And a griefer would indeed lose his ship, but then he'd just go and create a new account.
Quote:
And a nice way to control it is to make it possible for better equiped ships to have some sort of anti ramming equipment, like short range but very manouverable torpedos

That's sort of already the case, in that a ship which is way up close to another ship and oriented for broadsides can do an immense amount of damage. That is exactly why I need collisions to do damage: to keep people from doing this intentionally.
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or can just be faster and more agile, alowing the bigger player to enjoy some nice dodging manouvers on its side (think toreador and a bull).
Hmmmm. Perhaps. I'm not sure it makes more sense for larger ships to be more agile.

The bottom line is, I don't want ramming to be a good strategy for any player (perhaps in strange, exceptional circumstances, but certainly not in run of the mill PvP), including griefers. It's tricky to keep both groups away from it.

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I'm not sure of the mechanics of the game or balance (I'm assuming that low/high level battleships don't need to correspond to fast&small/slow&big in your game) but in general you'd to combine GM monitoring (checking on players that are frequently involved in collisions) and mechanics that make intentional ramming not in the players best interest.

In terms of realism and general balance, higher level ships should take less damage/inflict more damage in a collision, thus making attacks by lower level ships mostly a suicide effort. However as mentioned this creates an overpowered strategy for high level players to ram others.

To counter that you could introduce non-lethal effects to ramming - such as crew being injured, temporarly disabling the ship. However it can again lead to intentional ramming by lower level players.

Ultimately the best method in terms of game balance, working with GM observation, is to introduce a "magic bullet" against ramming that works largely regardless of size. Basically adjust the game mechanics to provide an intentionally overpowered strategy that only works when being rammed.

My example would be to adjust the damage and accuracy of guns to be proportional to distance, with the curve rising sharping at extremely close (point blank) range, and adjust the collision system to take into account how much damage (structural integrity) the ships have already taken (a badly damaged ship won't do much damage to another ship, it will simply fall aparton impact). The ship attempting to ram will have no choice but to point it's stern in roughly the direction of the other ship (since it needs to close on the other ship, and ships don't strafe). The ship being rammed has the luxury of trying to turn - if the collision is stern to stern, the victim has a good chance of being able to avoid the collision completely. If the collision is stern to one of the sides, the victem has a serious gun advantage - the rammer can only fire a few guns, while the victim can deliver a full broadside.

In the magic bullet strategy against ramming, the victim waits until the last second before being hit, then delivers a broadside against the rammer. Since the rammer has intentionally put himself at extremely close range but with few guns able to target his enemy. The structurally weakened rammer now does less ramming damage to the target, while taking even more damage himself.

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Original post by Sneftel
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And a nice way to control it is to make it possible for better equiped ships to have some sort of anti ramming equipment, like short range but very manouverable torpedos

That's sort of already the case, in that a ship which is way up close to another ship and oriented for broadsides can do an immense amount of damage. That is exactly why I need collisions to do damage: to keep people from doing this intentionally.

The bottom line is, I don't want ramming to be a good strategy for any player (perhaps in strange, exceptional circumstances, but certainly not in run of the mill PvP), including griefers. It's tricky to keep both groups away from it.


Well that might cause a problem for my idea. Perhaps you could answer a question about gameplay to help out: How realistic are ships speed/armor/firepower ratios? Can high level players make super battleships that are only not super strong but also super fast? Or is there a real weight penalty (and realistic engines) for the armor and weapons you put on? Basically I'm asking is in a given ramming situation, would the ship likely to take the most damage (due to it having less armor/size) also be equal or faster in speed (i.e. I can make my bad ass battleship faster by taking off armor, but now I've got a pocket battleship that isn't so good for ramming)?

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My current design calls for high-level players to have large ships which have a higher top speed than small ships (due to increased sail area) but which are much less maneuverable (longer to turn, longer to get started from a dead stop). Small ships are quite maneuverable, and more susceptible to damage. I hadn't really thought about the potential for modifying armor.

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