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Thread: If/how to impliment OOC points
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 04:32 AM #1
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
If/how to impliment OOC points
For reference I looked at the Guide to Living Eberron's DM credits as far as I can tell it's identical to the LEW (3.x living game)'s implementation.
Originally Posted by LEB
Personally I feel that we should reward DMs in a similar manner. However there are several areas where I think we may consider doing things differently.
Implementation of DM rewards
I think we should give out one OOC point for each experience generating encounter (combat, skill challenge) that a DM runs.
Currently the system rewards people at the end of their adventure based on how long it was.
The implementation I'm suggesting would more directly reward DMs for pushing their games forward and having things happen. A DM who manages to run two exciting fights in a month will be rewarded more than someone who's running a lot of games, gets busy and winds up posting once a week.
A DM feels a sense of accomplishment each time they finish an encounter.
Also, it's easy to keep track of. Instead of looking at post stamps and so forth you can just look at the xp handouts for that adventure to double check the DM points.
If a DMs adventure must be picked up by a judge they forfeit all points received for that adventure.
This will produce lots more ooc points, but that's fine, we don't have to have 1 ooc point = 1 DM credit.
- faster more tightly linked rewards to DMs for having things happen in their games
- easier to check
- more points
- equality between shorter and longer adventures
- better segmentation
Rewarding good play
However I'd also like to consider the possibly of rewarding players for regular consistent good posting (at a much lower rate). Without, as coviathe has pointed out, having judges sit around judging people.
I suggest the following:
Every time a DM receives 4 OOC points for a game they are running they may also give a player in that game a point.
This will encourage and reward good/regular play. While most players won't get a lot of points; they will be able to get a few.
Rewarding helpful OOC activityThere are certain things that we'd like to see the community help in and which could be rewarded.
- If you run a game that addresses a character's kickers or hooks you get an extra point when that game completes.
- If you run a "requested" game, where you're creating a new game in response to a request from a group of players (of which at least 2 are not currently in any games) you get a +25% point bump when the game completes
- Catching a mistake in an approved player characters's character sheet. (1 point per mistake?)
- Drawing maps
- judging characters for approval (1 point per five sheets approved - you can lose the point if too many errors are discovered later)
- creating new regions that are approved (?)
- drawing character porterates (1 per character)
- playing a "preferred race/class/region" combo (1 point at creation + 1 point per level gained)- Teifling Warlock from the Jade Empire, Eladrin Wizard from the Imperium
just thinking out loud for some of this ...
In addition to buffing your character it seems to me that we could use points to fulfill other things as well
Charge to play unusual charactersRequiring a one time point expenditure (5 points) to play a non-core + MM character. So you want to play a genasi or a swordmage? 5 points.
Allowing "illegal improvements"Purchasing extra feats for your character?
Others?Nothing specific springs to mind but...
Last edited by Graf; Wednesday, 13th August, 2008 at 05:46 AM.
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Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 10:34 AM #2
Defender (Lvl 8)
Thanks for starting this discussion, Graf.
As I've hinted at elsewhere, I have fairly strong feelings about this. I'll try to outline my objections as best I can, starting with the general and working towards the specific.
As far as general objections to the concept of in-game rewards for out-of-game events, two points. First, playing the game is its own reward. It's fun; that's why we're here. As long as the game is fun, people will play it, and DM it, and judge it, without further incentives. And if it's not fun, no incentives we can provide will get them to participate. Second, it's really hard to provide targeted incentives in a productive way. In software development, there are a million stories about managers who try to improve quality by offering $5 for every bug fixed, only to find that the software gets worse, because people create more bugs so that they can fix them for the bounty. These things backfire. People find ways to game the system.
Now for specific proposals:
DM credits as in LEW or LEB are well enough established that they are the unlikely to cause huge problems. In LEW, they seem to be ignored most of the time, but there have been occasional excesses: people spending 20 points at once to skip an entire level and that sort of thing. I personally would prefer us to try not having DM points at all, but I suspect that won't be a popular opinion. I think at the very least, we should put some kind of cap on the number of points that can be spent in a given calendar month.
Regarding changing DM points (or OOC points or whatever) to encourage DMs to push games forward instead of letting them drag: I have some sympathy with this. Letting games drag is the way to cheat the system if points are awarded by elapsed real time. If we instead award points based on number of experience generating encounters, we need to think about how the system will get cheated in that case, because it will. Lots of easy quick little encounters? Awarding experience for every successful skill check? Also, this system effectively penalizes DMs who run extended, difficult encounters. Which are often the interesting ones. Graf, your KK1 Grotto encounter wouldn't score nearly as well as the encounter I just ran in LEW against 8 tiny monstrous centipedes that blindly attacked and got killed in two rounds. I think it took two days real time. But the KK1 encounter is clearly better, in my opinion. Also, what about roleplaying "encounters"? When there's no skill challenge involved, but players overcome some obstacle through simple persuasion rather than killing everyone in sight and taking their stuff? If DMs award experience for that -- which I prefer to do -- do they get a point for it?
Regarding allowing DMs to give points to players: I'm not very comfortable with this, as stated. Do they only get to give one point? What if they've got two "good" players? Or three or four? What if they have none? It puts the DM in the awkward position of having to declare that Player A is a better player than Player B. I'd much rather simply leave this to the DM's discretion to award roleplaying experience as they see fit. Regular participation seems pretty likely to be necessary to achieve good roleplaying.
About rewarding other helpful ooc activity... LEW has kicked the topic around a few times, and the only proposal that I know of that ever got implemented was to allow DMs one or two extra points for posting a detailed summary of their adventure to the wiki after it was finished, with judges to decide whether it was detailed enough. Here are some links to existing summaries: 1 2. (I'm writing this from memory rather than looking for the thread, so I may have some details wrong.) That was put in place to address the specific problem that a lot of the nice content put in place for specific adventures was getting overlooked and forgotten. Has it worked? Eh.... to some extent. We've gotten some good summaries, but it's not clear whether the information is readily accessible. What's really needed is some kind of secretary / historian / archivist who would pay attention to the adventures and maintain the wiki. But that's a huge job. The only way I can see it getting done is if everyone pitches in whenever they can.
LEW has several times rejected the notion of awarding points to judges. I think that's wise. It's not just the conflict of interest; judges need to avoid even the perception that there could be a conflict of interest between judging and playing.
So, bottom line, since I've spent too long typing this post already: I think OOC points of any kind create more problems than they solve. We're only just getting started with this living world, let's not create any more problems for ourselves.
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 10:56 AM #3
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Hm. I confess to being fairly unpersuaded by the "LEW doesn't do this so we shouldn't even consider it" argument.
In the best of all possible worlds people do exactly what you want them to do without any encouragement.
But this world is not that one; people respond to mild encouragement.
I'm not saying everything should be implemented. I don't necessarily like everything that I suggested.
But I'm not really sure what your objections are...
You seem to have decided you don't like it, and marshaled objections (some are self contradictory; some are already addressed above) without really thinking about the existing problems OOC points could potentially solve.
RE: DMs judging players. You seem to be simultaneously suggesting that DMs shouldn't judge players and that they should.
I think you can't have it both ways. Either you want no judgment or you want judgment but you can't say "we shouldn't judge people" and "dms do a good job of judging people already on a completely unstructured basis so we shouldn't judge people".
Since you're not really reading it closely (I said "may" so there's no problem with no-good players) I have the feeling that you're trying to stop the conversation without actually conversing about it.
Rewarding people for historical/archiving/note taking, as you've pointed out, is something that
1. Is a problem with LEW/LEB
2. We could do something about with OOC points
so why try to cut off debate without thinking about it?
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 11:42 AM #4
Defender (Lvl 8)
Ok, I seem to be failing at communicating effectively this morning. Let's try this again. Taking things slightly out of order
Not even close to what I'm doing. We should continue to discuss this. I'm discussing it, in the only way I know how, by explaining my opinions. It so happens that I have some fairly strong opinions on this subject. I believe I have good reasons behind my opinions. I'm trying my best to express those reasons civilly. I encourage everyone else to post their opinions, and I hope they will do me the courtesy of reading and considering mine, as I will do theirs.Originally Posted by Graf
I would be unpersuaded, too, if someone were attempting to make that argument. I'm not. I do, however, suggest that when other smart people have debated a question before, come to a conclusion, and had some experience with the results in practice, it would be foolish to ignore all of that. If we look at it and decide that our circumstances are different and we should make a different decision, so be it. But we shouldn't be ignorant of it.Originally Posted by Graf
So you believe. I believe that when presented with a metric, people will try to optimize it. If that metric is "most wiki articles edited", then people will edit lots of wiki articles. But editing wiki articles isn't the goal. The goal is to have a helpful, informative wiki. Having lots of edits may or may not lead towards the goal. Having a policy in place to reward wiki editing -- and this should be understood as just an example that is symbolic of the whole idea of OOC rewards -- may be helpful, but it may also be harmful in surprising ways. I've seen the latter far too many times not to be very wary of it.Originally Posted by Graf
Well, you brought them up for discussion. I'm trying to discuss them. I really do appreciate your bringing them up; it's helpful. Maybe you could indicate which of your ideas you think we should consider implementing, and why? That would be helpful, too.I'm not saying everything should be implemented. I don't necessarily like everything that I suggested.
I'm sorry, I seem to have failed to explain effectively. To summarize, I think the following things:But I'm not really sure what your objections are...
- We don't yet have the kind of problems that OOC rewards are supposed to fix. We may never have them.
- OOC rewards don't actually fix the kinds of problems they are supposed to fix, because they reward things that can be easily measured rather than things that directly contribute to fixing the problem.
- OOC rewards can actually be harmful, because they create the possibility of exploitation and imbalance.
The rest of my excessive verbiage has been an attempt to explain and substantiate those points.
Could you please rephrase this in a way that doesn't make it sound like you're accusing me of arguing in bad faith? I find that I'm not able to respond to it civilly in its currently stated form.Originally Posted by Graf
DMs do judge players: they award experience and treasure. This is part of the basic mechanics of D&D, and I don't propose to change it. What I think we should avoid doing is creating a situation where DMs are forced to single out a single specific player as being superior to the others, not at playing D&D, but at participating in the L4W forum. Let's stick to D&D.Originally Posted by Graf
Again, I can't respond to this as stated.Since you're not really reading it closely (I said "may" so there's no problem with no-good players) I have the feeling that you're trying to stop the conversation without actually conversing about it.
Close. What I pointed out is that in LEW, they have already tried to address the problem with OOC points, with only minimal success.Originally Posted by Graf
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 01:49 PM #5
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Look I think you're doing a great job. I'm sorry if what was intended as friendly criticism came off as something else.
You have some negative experiences with this sort of thing from LEW/LEB and youre passionate. I love passionate. I love that you're sharing your experiences.
Here's what we agree on
- we're going to have some sort of system (maybe just the LEW/LEB system of DM credits)
- the current LEW/LEB systems don't work as well as we'd like them to
- reward systems can have unintended and adverse consiquences
Given all that I think a serious, thoughful and wide ranging discussion is called for.
I pulled the emergency brake on the whole race/class thing because it had been discussed for pages, voted on and then discussed all over again. We haven't talked about OOC points yet. We haven't voted on it.
So I think it's a bit premature for me, as a facilitator to be saying "I think we should do only A and B; don't talk about anything else".
I also think that facilitators saying things like "this idea is DnD" or "this idea isn't DnD" in a lead off on the thread is also a bit heavy handed.
So I'm not going to call out the one or two ideas that happen to have really captured my eye. I want to see what other members of the community, or at least the other facilitators, have to say.
Then we'll draw up a big poll.
Just like all my other polls it'll include a broad a spectrum of choices as reasonably possible (including a few extreme ones that I personally don't like).
And the community will decide.
Maybe we'll wind up with the exact same system as LEW/LEB; maybe we won't. But I don't think it hurts us to talk about this new topic in a broad fashion.
I have to finish up the Transitive Isles.
You're working on the charter, tick boxes for settings (with gary) and lots of other stuff.
renau1g is doing the character sheet (I think)
None of that requires a decision on "OOC points" before it can move forward so I think we've got some time to let the community stew and see if any great ideas come out. It won't stop us from going forward, unless we choose to let it.
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 04:06 PM #6
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Thanks for getting this discussion going, guys. Here are my initial thoughts after reading what's been said so far. I'm open to being convinced to change any of these thoughts if someone has a good reason.
- I like the idea (and I have no experience with the implementation, so I appreciate you sharing, covaithe) of rewarding DM's for running good games.
- I do not want to place DM's in a position where they're singling out players for perks. That way lies discord.
- Judges should not get any points for judging. I do think they should get points for DMing their own games or taking over for a missing DM.
- I think the arguments against rewarding bug fixes are compelling.
- I'd like to encourage wiki updating, but I'm not sure yet if I think we should do that with points, or just let it go and hope.
- One final thought on rewarding DM's for pushing games forward... instead of basing it on real time or per encounter, how about some ratio of XP awarded to PCs / DM points to DM. These means that DM's whose games move fast will gain points as fast as the PC's earn XP, so there's no incentive for dragging things out in real time or for lots of little easy encounters over large tough enounters. The biggest issue would be to make sure the DM only awards XP for reasonable things (mostly sticking to RAW, I'd think), but I would assume the Judge tracking the game would already be making sure of that, so I don't think there'd be extra work there.
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 04:11 PM #7
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 06:24 PM #8
I've read through the posts so far and there are indeed items to be considered on both sides of the discussion.
This is my opinion, I also am not crazy about the idea of awarding individual PC's a bonus at the DM's discretion, due to the potential for upset feelings. In order to ensure that the game's as easy to judge as possible (and open to as many members as possible) I'm inclined to leave this part out.
As for DM credits, it's nice to see that there is a reward that the DM's receive for spending a lot of time prepping and running a game. There should be a limit imposed on how many points they can use for a given character maybe? or at least a max/level.
Also, I like gary's idea about how to offer the points, it combines Graf's ideas with Covaithe's concerns, that way I can't just run a bunch of battles against minions and gain a bunch of points, but if the group powers ahead at breakneck pace and smashes through the adventure because they're posting very frequently, I'm going to receive the same reward that I would have if I slowed the game down to a leisurely pace...
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 08:04 PM #9
Disclaimer - I'm a PbP newbie.
I think covaithe hit the nail on the head: "playing the game is its own reward. It's fun; that's why we're here."
I'd go a step further and say that anyone playing in a PbP game really, really wants to play because frankly, it's quite a bit of work to play via forums (I'm enjoying it so far, don't get me wrong). This goes double for DMs, I'd imagine.
Given that, I don't think any kind of point reward system will be worth the effort in administrating it - I know in my case, no amount of points will change the number of games I attempt to play in. Furthermore, point rewards seem like the kind of thing that mostly a powergamer would really want, and from the games I've browsed, PbP doesn't seem to attract that type of player much anyway. Just my take - I suppose another poll could be run ("Would adding reward points change your PbP habits?")
I have another suggestion - some kind of Wall of Fame, perhaps on the wiki, where people can post the games they have run/played in and other players can leave their appreciative comments (criticisms can go elsewhere). I like the idea of recognizing effort, just not tying it into the game mechanics.
P.S. Thanks for all your work on living worlds, folks - I definitely plan to participate in some fashion.
Wednesday, 13th August, 2008, 09:19 PM #10
Defender (Lvl 8)
Hiya, nerdytenor. Good to see you here and interested! Welcome.
This has promise. The only ways I can think of to exploit it are to run lots of encounters that are easier than their experience budget suggests, which I think would get pretty boring long before it had an unbalancing effect, or to award really excessive amounts of roleplaying experience. Which, as you point out, judges are already watching out for.Originally Posted by garyh
One thing to address, though, is how to scale it by level. I assume you wouldn't award ten times as many DM points to a someone running an adventure for level ten characters as someone running level one characters. How would that work?