Greetings, glorious adventurers! If you're joining in our Alpha One spot testing, please follow the steps here to see all the latest test info on our forums and Discord!

Guild Gathering #11 - Spies and Intrigue

245

Comments

  • TruthfoolTruthfool Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    hi,
    I'm all for some intrigues. I'm wondering about the how and why that will dictate if it's a good idea.
    Some ideas :
    -a spie action could change the timer before next fight about a town or a castle for instance ? it would have a short window to move the timer for a small effect like reduce the CD before siege by a week? It could require going into said city or place and take control of points that could trigger alarms ?
    - Alternatively it could mean specific small battlemaps that would decide the effect of a spie action like small squirmishes ? The reward could be terrain, equipment advantage for the next siege defense or attack?
    - I don't think the "spie status" should be a specific status for a player going into a guild and infiltrating it as a covert guild member. However we could have ambushes/assassination attemps against kings or major players could be a fun serie of quest that issue a pvp challenge of somekind? Depending on how well the quest lines were done it could grant buffs or debuffs for the assassination attempt? Assassinated character could suffer a penalty (less gold incomes? lesser garnison to recruit?)
    - the counterespionnage could be made to ensure protections for the targets via other quests or competing events?

    I don't have more for now
    Thank you for your good work
    Eldritch Harbingers
    We follow the truth of the True gods, wherever she leads us
  • KiluvianKiluvian Member
    edited December 2021
    I already posted about a character identity system earlier, but I really think it covers the bases when it comes to espionage gameplay. Picture a setting where selecting a character wouldn't display their name, but only distinguish whether or not they're a player. an NPC, or perhaps even a game master. Then, there should be common identification skills in the game that will display data related to the character based on the rank of the skill: some might display only their name, others might also display their level and class, while the highest ranking skills might even display some of their attributes and even some of their equipment's attributes. The reason this is a skill is because, with a short cool down time, the skill needs to be used on every individual in a group, requiring longer setup times and the need for detailed planning when ambushing others.

    To prevent the use of identification skills, there would be hooded cloaks, and when the hood is raised, your character data is hidden from common identification skills and might only be able to be displayed with an advanced identification skill. Then, there could be rare cloaks with special effects that even prevent identification from those advanced identification skills. Now there is this dance between identification skills and concealment effects that becomes a huge factor in PvP: you never know who you might be provoking and so you might think twice before trying to randomly gank people.

    On top of this, each account has a unique Account ID and each character has a unique True Name forever linked to them. You could give this ID or true name to trusted friends and they will always see your character when online. On the other hand, you can also create alias identities for individual characters that you can distribute to other friends who will only know you by those aliases. You can't turn your account ID or true name to invisible mode, but you can temporarily deactivate your aliases, appearing offline. In order to whisper someone, you have to add their name, or alias, to your Contact List. Although, you should also be able to whisper someone in your guild, party, raid or direct line of sight, for convenience. When someone whispers your alias through the system, you will reply as that alias. Better watch your messages and not whisper the wrong person the wrong thing...

    Perhaps setting up a new alias might be expensive or extremely inconvenient, making it difficult to possess multiple identities. With multiple identifies and hooded cloaks, characters with bounties or kill-on-sight to the guards can remain hidden unless their identity is exposed through some method. Such methods would be the purview of bounty hunters, who might have those advanced identification skills or specialized tools they can procure to assist them in their trade.
  • MoowellMoowell Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Kiluvian wrote: »
    I already posted about a character identity system earlier, but I really think it covers the bases when it comes to espionage gameplay... SNIP ...Such methods would be the purview of bounty hunters, who might have those advanced identification skills or specialized tools they can procure to assist them in their trade.

    I love the idea of entire suit of identification related traits and equipment. There's a ton of cool-factor here. With that said, I can't say I agree with it completely yet. Keeping things relevant to the thread, how do these systems affect guild-related espionage? Does using an alias give you tangible benefits outside of people just not knowing your real ID? Can you join a second guild under an alias? Can your alias have access to guild functions that your real ID does not, and vice versa? If your alias is not affiliated with your base ID's guild, can you PvP people from your base ID's guild while using your alias? Do you still have access to your base ID's guild house? The guild chest? Guild chat? Guild buffs?

    Outside of using aliases, how do the identification and concealment skills/traits/equipment affect guild espionage? Can you listen in on another guild's guild chat? Can you enter an area off-limits to non-guild members if you're concealing your ID? Are such systems designed to fool the player behind the screen, or do they also fool other in-game systems? If the answer is no to these, then as long as you're not in that guild, you need someone in the guild to feed you information. With whisper chat available, is there a need to use concealment at all in such cases?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not shooting the ideas down. I just want a little more explanation on how you would have them relate to the current topic.
  • Please yes. This would be fantastic. It would seriously add to the ingame politics, and as long as its well implemented I know I, as a rogue, would love this :)
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    bot wrote: »
    I don't think it really contributes to a healthy competitive environment. You look at sports and it's frowned upon to send in scouts to watch practices and learn plays. Just defeats the enjoyment factor of planning and strategizing when people just spy on you.

    I disagree, it adds an entire new dimension to it.

    Says in Ashes will exist. This is just a fact of the way the game is being designed.

    With that in mind, and guild that is serious about competing should not only have their own spy program, but also their own counterapy program. Find the spys rivals have in your guild, feed them false information, and win.

    I'm not sure why this is a question Intrepid are asking about, as there is nothing they can do to assist, and nothing they can do to hinder. It is simply going to be a faucet of how players play the game.
  • SantanicoSantanico Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Yes, all for it!
    32caba2c66bb4cfe9d35a466319b09e3.png
  • Spies are bad, but it's hard to avoid them.

    But what is really bad - if game developer supports and promotes them, which makes players think that it's indended way to play game. That creates toxic environment. No-no-no, indended way is to play fair.
  • Yes please! Spies and guild intrigue is good way to create stories that going to be talked about for years.
  • I hate it. It's just ninja looting on more massive scale. It punishes friendly guilds who are more trusting and inclusive. It sows an environment of mistrust and encourages an even greater amount of cliquiness in high ranking guild members that can already happen even without spies.

    I'm sure it will happen on some scale but I'd prefer that it was not encouraged. Even going as far as GMs undoing trades if a spy goes nuclear.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    I hate it. It's just ninja looting on more massive scale. It punishes friendly guilds who are more trusting and inclusive. It sows an environment of mistrust and encourages an even greater amount of cliquiness in high ranking guild members that can already happen even without spies.

    I'm sure it will happen on some scale but I'd prefer that it was not encouraged. Even going as far as GMs undoing trades if a spy goes nuclear.

    Spys in a game like Ashes aren't interested in what you have, they are interested in what you are planning on doing.

    What side you plan on joining the upcoming siege on is far more valuable to me than the pile of crap you have stored up. Even if I were after that crap you have, I would much rather get it by finding out when you plan on transporting it, and just attacking your caravan.
  • The espionage and spying will definitely be a thing in AoC. Setting up basic restrictions and privileges in your guild is up to the guild leadership. Now, implementing some kind of ability or option to steal things from the Mayor office, guild’s hall or capital building that would say when the next caravan is going out or coming in, the roster or maybe even during a siege giving you, the attacker, a brief real-time look at where all the defenders are at on the map could be a strategic option for those attacking.

    Options for sabotaging gates or siege equipment would be pretty cool. There’s a lot to play with and having some options like this just adds to the game’s depth.
  • pyrealpyreal Member, Warrior of Old
    edited December 2021
    Vaknar wrote: »
    gg_spies_and_intrigue_1920.gif?h=250

    Glorious Ashes community - we're excited to continue our new series called Guild Gatherings! Guild Gathering topics are a "reverse Q&A" similar to our Dev Discussions, where we ask you about your thoughts on everything related to guilds.

    Our team has compiled a list of questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding guild tools, gameplay, your previous experiences, and more. Join in on our Guild Gatherings and share how your gaming family is special to you!


    Guild Gathering #11 - Spies and Intrigue
    How do you feel about spies and double-agents?

    This question is too generic. In what sense do you mean?

    Do I like spies and double-agents in lore, in NPC functions, in general player function, or backstabbers within a guild?
  • BoanergeseBoanergese Member
    edited December 2021
    Since Ashes is a role play game and controlling nodes and influence is a design of the game, I think spies are acceptable. I don't think people should be able to steal from the guild bank. I know that Steven mentioned in the interview with Asmongold that city leaders could use the taxes for city projects but couldn't enrich themselves.

    In World of Warcraft you didn't need spies because each guild tried to win the race for world first and tried to get cutting edge achievement. I would not like for one guild to leak their spreadsheets or strategies to the rival guild just before the competition. So, in essence Warcraft wasn't designed for spying. On the other hand, Eve Online was made for spying and espionage. I don't think there should be a way for people to know our alts in Ashes of Creation. I like how Steven mentioned that my main character could be in one guild and an alt might be in a rival guild earning favor over months by working for them in order to betray them later.

    Look at history. In the past you had priests in the Middle Ages that worked as spies for the church who relayed information to the church about the other countries in order for the church to maintain power. Guilds are going to form alliances and guild are going to betray each other which is going to add spice to the game. Guild A thinks Guild B is going to help them at an important battle against Guild C to defend the node. Guild B doesn't come, or they help Guild C. Look at the wedding scene in Game of Thrones. Only one person gets to sit on the iron throne.

    Officers will have to decide which information should be shared. Knowing what hours people play, how many are in the guild, who the guild is allied with is all valuable information. I think it would be cool if we could hire NPC armies to help us in sieges. I also think it would be cool if there were secret tunnels. There is some much potential this game can explore.

    You can lock your discord down so that only members of your guild can read information. You can also hide things so only officers can read things. That is just a matter of properly managing your discord with permissions.
  • BoanergeseBoanergese Member
    edited December 2021
    Azherae wrote: »
    How okay I am with spies is directly connected to the amount of 'punishment' that players can mete out in whatever way.

    One of the biggest problems of MMORPG design is 'why griefing exists', and mostly, griefing exists because it is possible to do harm to the experience of other players that technically surpasses any possible level of retaliation to your own experience, usually with much less effort. It's a pretty hard problem to solve, so, basically, if you figure out a way to get online, join a guild, fracture that guild from the inside and sow distrust, with a throwaway character where little or nothing is lost even if that character is outright deleted (at your discretion, as the player of that character), the game goes in this direction pretty fast.

    One way to address this matter would be to not let people be an officer until they are max level or don't let them join the guild until they are max level. The reason being for that decision is if it takes a person 3-4 months to get an alt to that level would a person be willing to do that much work just to try to infiltrate your guild. The developers haven't addressed yet how many alts you can have on a server. If you only were allowed 2 or 3 characters total on a server, that might address the issue of repercussions. I can have my main character which I used in the guild, and I could choose to spy with one alt, or I could use that alt for the guild to raid. My main character could dps and my alt could heal. Now, I would have to make a choice. Do I want to be a spy or do I want two useful characters for raids, sieges, crafting, etc.

    I understand that guilds may want to invite low level characters to the guild and not make them wait until they are max level. The reasoning being that they want to level together and get to know the person and do team building activities. I guess each guild will have to decide how trusting or paranoid they want to be. Then again, some guilds may want to be neutral and not care about gaining power or resources. I can understand your concern about griefing. It is good that the developers are asking the community their opinion. It might also help with we had a poll to take with 4 or 5 choices on it. I think if we are going to have spies in the game, we should limit the total characters on a server to 2 or 3. Make the person make a meaningful choice that has consequences.

  • Sarevok wrote: »
    The espionage and spying will definitely be a thing in AoC. Setting up basic restrictions and privileges in your guild is up to the guild leadership. Now, implementing some kind of ability or option to steal things from the Mayor office, guild’s hall or capital building that would say when the next caravan is going out or coming in, the roster or maybe even during a siege giving you, the attacker, a brief real-time look at where all the defenders are at on the map could be a strategic option for those attacking.

    Options for sabotaging gates or siege equipment would be pretty cool. There’s a lot to play with and having some options like this just adds to the game’s depth.

    Someone has to let the Persians in through the back door to defeat the Spartans. [Wink, Wink]. Now accepting bribes.
  • The ability for in game spying mechanics has the potential to be cool. But it best have a massive risk for the massive reward that is the upper hand via information/sabotage.

    In any case it happens enough through discord, other outside platforms, and alt accounts.
    GJjUGHx.gif
  • Spygames are mostly played out-of-game and take into account information that is not within the developer's control. For example, discord is a de facto requirement for many guilds. Wiki's are a similar form of intelligence sharing that happen outside of the intel made available by the game. I think the best thing a developer can do to influence the player experience in regards to third party intelligence is to make in-game mechanics more fruitful than out-of-game options.

    Ex 1. The option to have an anonymous alt character that can join another guild. This is more accessible than the p2w alternative of having a second account in another guild. And it supports the design philosophy of 'horizontal progression.' The more time you are spending on your alt building reputation and trust, the less time you are spending on your main.

    Ex 2. Robust in-game social communication. If AoC can compete with discord as the de facto guild communication tool, then that helps guild leaders solve intelligence problems such as verifying ingame/discord accounts. In-game communication can provide much deeper info than a wiki/disc could, such as pinning your map, sharing a quest, or joining a raid. Not everyone needs to drop discord, but if in-game comms were robust enough that not everyone in a guild needs to be on discord to participate in guild play then it potentially opens up more accessible spygame options.

    Ex 3. In game gatherable intelligence. This is more of a design pillar, than a separate system you can tack on. It basically means that all intelligence tied to game loops are recorded somewhere in-game to be interacted with. Breaking into a node town hall to get caravan schedules. Breaking into a guild HQ to copy their cartography intel or their roster intel. If all this intel is rich and sharable/stealable in-game, then that helps make the discord and out-of-game spygames irrelevant. 'Rich' intel as an example, can be player health bars. By default its just a red line, but if you steal (or share with allies) a guild roster, then these health bars become numbers. Such an 'immersive intelligence' or 'rich intelligence' design philosophy would not only reduce the benefit of out of game spying, but could also help (alongside node leveling) to preserve the element of discovery for content that a wiki often cheapens.

    Making in-game mechanics more fruitful than out-of-game methods isnt the only option. But I do think its the best way, at the design-level, to make intrigue a healthy part of the game. Thank you for coming to my ted talk. If you are a guild leader or a spy, feel free to dm me if you are looking for a spymaster.
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Just want to preflag that I have 0 experience in intrigue, but my 2c:

    If you made a system to support spying, what would be the benefit of using the in-game system over private messaging external to the game?
    For example, if I want to buy the loyalty of a guild officer in a rival guild - would I negotiate a deal in-game or via discord?

    Some features that you could consider:
    • self-destruct messages
    • stuff to steal
    • ways to gain unauthorized access and cover your tracks
    • ways to sniff out compromized access, and to detect traces of break-ins

    So a major issue I can see happening is that if it's too risky to store critical information in-game, then guilds will start to keep their info out-of-game, and the spy system becomes kinda moot.
    I think a way to get around this is to offer both:
    > Ways for guilds to secure access to sensitive information, with a variety of bells-and-whistles to alert guild members of unauthorized access (plus ways for spies to navigate through the lazers/minefields, such as a way to disable each bell and whistle)
    > Strong integration of sensitive guild information with gameplay systems: e.g. guild appointments show up on the map, guild officers marked "on-duty" when they are rostered, guild member availabilities are easy to browse and organize around in-game, etc.
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • There are some great comments above on how to implement such system that said everything I needed to say; so I’ll say this: I do think it is interesting. It adds political intrigue and ‘complexity’ to the guilds and their members. But it also needs a proper system to be implemented. In short: I’m game!
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    maouw wrote: »
    Just want to preflag that I have 0 experience in intrigue, but my 2c:

    If you made a system to support spying, what would be the benefit of using the in-game system over private messaging external to the game?
    For example, if I want to buy the loyalty of a guild officer in a rival guild - would I negotiate a deal in-game or via discord?

    Some features that you could consider:
    • self-destruct messages
    • stuff to steal
    • ways to gain unauthorized access and cover your tracks
    • ways to sniff out compromized access, and to detect traces of break-ins

    So a major issue I can see happening is that if it's too risky to store critical information in-game, then guilds will start to keep their info out-of-game, and the spy system becomes kinda moot.
    I think a way to get around this is to offer both:
    > Ways for guilds to secure access to sensitive information, with a variety of bells-and-whistles to alert guild members of unauthorized access (plus ways for spies to navigate through the lazers/minefields, such as a way to disable each bell and whistle)
    > Strong integration of sensitive guild information with gameplay systems: e.g. guild appointments show up on the map, guild officers marked "on-duty" when they are rostered, guild member availabilities are easy to browse and organize around in-game, etc.

    This is exactly it.

    Any system Intrepid add is pointless. As such, I don't understand the question from them.

    If they add in a system, it will just be a system that guilds play to their own advantage, while real spying continues as normal.
  • MoowellMoowell Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Noaani wrote: »
    Any system Intrepid add is pointless. As such, I don't understand the question from them.

    If they add in a system, it will just be a system that guilds play to their own advantage, while real spying continues as normal.

    The question is intended to get your feedback. In this case, you feel like adding systems is pointless, and they can take that into consideration.

    Are there any systems you specifically DON'T want to see? Adding some systems may be pointless, but there may be others that are outright bad and should be avoided.
  • BoanergeseBoanergese Member
    edited December 2021
    Noaani wrote: »


    Any system Intrepid add is pointless. As such, I don't understand the question from them.

    If they add in a system, it will just be a system that guilds play to their own advantage, while real spying continues as normal.

    But this discussion is beneficial because if 80% of the community was opposed to spies the developer could put a system in place like Eve Online which would show any alts in a second guild. The GM could then ask you why you are in those other guilds. The developers could not allow alts at all in the game to stop spies. Now you could leave your real guild and join the second guild as a spy while communicating on discord. The developer could use hardware ID like your video card to not let you log into a second account if they really wanted to be extreme. Whether you are for or against spying, having a healthy discussion is what this post is for. It's actually great that the developers are trying to build a strong community and listening to us.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    Moowell wrote: »
    .
    Are there any systems you specifically DON'T want to see? Adding some systems may be pointless, but there may be others that are outright bad and should be avoided.
    Adding any system is counterproductive.

    Tell you what, you come up with a system for spying, and I'll tell you why it's shit.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited December 2021
    Boanergese wrote: »

    But this discussion is beneficial because if 80% of the community was opposed to spies the developer could put a system in place like Eve Online which would show any alts in a second guild. The GM could then ask you why you are in those other guilds.
    Cool.

    Add that to the game.

    Now I can join a guild on an alt account, and since they have a false sense of security due to the above system being in place, they will never suspect me of being a spy.

    Most top end players (most, not all) will run two or three accounts anyway. Keeping one out of any guilds (and families as well) isn't going to be much of an ask.
  • I think for newer guilds this may cause drama. For many other Guilds though, it won't impact them as much, since they have gamed with each other for so long and already have layers of trust. Especially if Guilds can run a guild of 50-100 members and have advantages that a 300 person Guild does not. So this can certainly hurt some guilds.... but for many others it will simply be.... we don't know you.... you are not welcome to our discord where we discuss everything.
  • akabearakabear Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Inter Clan "spies" and "trade secrets" are not really something that I am too concerned about, that is people management and not really sure how that can be or should be controlled within game.

    However, actual "spying" within game might be something to run with.. ie high reward, high stakes mayoral initiated quests to say, retrieve x document from deep within an enemy node city and return it safely... or the likes.. with real incentives to both keep an eye out for such "spies" and reward if successful.. ie reward being "document that shows castle weakness during seige" (reality something more like just 5%-10% defence weakening)
  • Spies are rarely ever a positive thing in multiplayer, its one thing if someone kills you while out collecting materials. Its a WHOLE new rotten egg if the person you THOUGHT was your friend stabs you in the back. I think it it adds unnecessary negativity, because there will inevitably be spies, whether you have a system for it or not. But that doesn't mean you have to condone or support this type of behavior. Isn't sending someone to check out a guilds town enough? -No spies please
  • at the guild level, spies can be a toxic element in a community. Especially if the guild doesnt have a good culture
    that type of storyline is more healthy at the alliance level imo
  • Spying is an act of treason therefore a player caught spying should be sentenced to public execution in the town square.

    Now from a game design point of view that would be really hard to implement a system like such. Maybe have the guild leader flag the player for potential spying. The player will then face a trail and if found guilty then there's a cutscene of the players execution cause its kind of hard to force a player to willingly move their character into a place to get executed. But a system like this can also easily be abused and can lead to trolling
  • BoanergeseBoanergese Member
    edited December 2021
    Noaani wrote: »
    Moowell wrote: »
    .
    Are there any systems you specifically DON'T want to see? Adding some systems may be pointless, but there may be others that are outright bad and should be avoided.
    Adding any system is counterproductive.

    Tell you what, you come up with a system for spying, and I'll tell you why it's shit.

    One character per server. Your computer hardware such as your video card and your cpu ID is locked to that account when you log into the game. And, if you really want to be anal about it Intrepid could make you send a scan of your driver's license in order to have a subscription to the game thereby ensuring you only have one account. Yes, a friend could create an account who doesn't want to play the game but is someone going to have two top end computers to play the game. There may or may not be a perfect system, but this is a video game, its not real life where there are real consequences for treason. I am all for spying anyway in the game, but it's always a cat and mouse game. Bank makes safe. Thieve breaks into safe. Bank upgrades safe and the dance goes on.
Sign In or Register to comment.