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Guild Gathering #11 - Spies and Intrigue

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Comments

  • Just leave it alone. Don't add any mechanics around it, especially account identifiers to players, and all the spy and intrigue anyone could want will be possible. If you do add one though, similar to ESO or BDO's 'account name' you'll kill that aspect of the game. Unless you want people to buy multiple accounts...
  • I would imagine if a guild puts a lot of time and effort into different projects that are constantly being undermined by spies they will get tired of trying and quit. You will only be left with spies spying on each other.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    Boanergese wrote: »
    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.

    This is a great way to cut subscription numbers by 50%. I have to assume this is not a serious suggestion.

    Even if it were, the more secure you make people feel, the less scrutiny they will place on recruits, the easier it is for those like me that do have everything needed to make this happen.
  • KiluvianKiluvian Member
    edited December 2021
    Moowell wrote: »
    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.

    My answer to most of your questions is: Yes.

    In my opinion, I think that guilds should be more like a contract type deal. You should be able to join multiple guilds on the same character in the first place. If a particular guild wants to limit their members to only their guild, then that should be up to them and their own internal rules. Also, you should be able to flag up against your own faction, guild, group or raid in general so that there are opportunities for you to betray or be betrayed. If you put that kind of freedom in the guild and PvP systems, then those identification skills I introduced are what you use to examine your guild members to determine if they're following your guild's rules or if they're spies.

    If you can join other guilds, then the espionage implications should be obvious. For the system I outlined to have the greatest effect, it would be ideal. You'd be in multiple guilds so you can definitely see both guild chats and chat in both, with chat automatically conforming to the guild-ed alias. Permissions should be irrelevant to the alias you're currently using, your character either has the permissions or not. If you fail to swap out your alias and draw attention to yourself in supposed restricted areas, that's your own idiotic fault. The system should fool both NPCs and the player behind the computer screen. Keeping up the charade outside of the game should be just as easy if you're smart about it.

    The uses of this system for espionage would be significantly stifled if you couldn't join multiple guilds, but there are still uses for this system, especially in causing people to think twice before engaging random people in PvP. At the least, you can still use aliases to fool NPCs and infiltrate enemy territory to scout. At that point, there could even be espionage or infiltration quests for scouting, robberies, assassinations or other criminal activities. You could have these things without the aliases and ID system, but only stealth classes would be able to pull them off.

    The fact of the matter is that anyone could create an alt character, level it up and join a different guild as a spy with a secondary Discord account. With 2 computers, its easy to be logged in on both characters in both guilds and you could just as easily spy all the same. Allowing characters to join multiple guilds in conjunction with my system is just adding RPG elements to it while making it a little more fun and immersive.

  • Spies will exist no matter what kind of mechanics are put in the game, you don't even need any special mechanics or events at all.
    Nothing is going to stop me from having my char apply to your guild, get nice and chummy with everyone in the guild, earn their trust and feed information to my real guild, and maybe even betray you in 2-3 years down the line. Hey I will even be sitting in your discord channel. It is just something you will have to live with, and it is your guild leader, officers, and in fact every loyal member of your guild that is going to do their part in order to catch me.

    I was a member of Pandemic Horde for several years in EVE Online, and the corp is basicly 90% spies, 5% alts, and 5% players. You will learn to live with it, and you will learn what information you can share with everyone in the guild, and what you can't. And don't worry, it will most likely be the large "Hardcore" guilds that will end up having to deal with most of the spies.
  • OzijakOzijak Member
    edited December 2021
    Gday Gday all :)

    There are definitely pros and cons to this, and I suggest these while knowing I'm still reading back on everything, so I could be wrong about some systems.

    Having in game systems that can be used to spy, to gather information is definitely interesting but they would have to be balanced or even moderated so they are not exploited. (Please do this anyway, have GMs or Realm Moderators, maybe from the player base on each realm who abide by a very strict code, or else someone could apply to be a GM, and become the spy haha getting info on multiple guilds. New World really dropped the ball here having it completely automated and game breaking bugs not resolved for a week or two, before an actual person looked at it)

    Going to throw out a few ideas for implementing it:

    I think the rogue class should be the one to do this, to be the spies. Pop a limited time consumeable that makes them avoid the usual stealth detection mechanics, stealth into an enemy fortress. Things that would be useful to know would be their plans and goals, time frames of caravans, raids so you could setup an ambush or counter attack when they are out. What powerful items/build ie if their governor has a dragon flying mount and its abilities, dedicate a team to counter it. Someone suggested earlier have a time period to scout in the lead up to a war, so you can also roster defenders to find and kill spies.

    You could go another way. Once guilds reach a certain size and get a fort, they unlock a guild vault that you can hide somewhere. Then you have a stealth class find out what they have inside, plan a raid with a team of rogues to combine their stealth powers (like summoners can combine to do larger summons etc) to steal a portion of it, gold, raw materials, valuable recipes. Give the owning team a very good shot at getting it back, eg. movement debuff, drop a gold trail like Diablo 3 goblins. You could send in a crowd control team to assassist the main thief team get out, and then have the entire guild with a caravan waiting to assist them escape back to a caravan then its a caravan events, escort it back to your fortress to secure your loot. Rust has similar mechanics where you can steal an enemies stashed supplies. But it would have to be heavily balanced towards the people who are defending somehow so very large guilds can't just steal the loot/plunder of every other guild on the realm, eventually killing all the competition. Or you could have items generated from the average item level of the guild vault or something like that, and thats what the spies take. Having it limited to more progressed guilds would mean more casual guilds aren't going to be stolen from. Its also exploitable by having 2 high level guilds working together robbing from each other generating more high item level loot.

    You could even have monster raids plunder the guild vault and take it back to their cave and it can be a guild event to raid their home and get it back.

    As far as double agents go, people with 2 toons in two different guilds or a single toon in 2 guilds, not huge on the idea but it does add to the story of each realm.

    I used to play WoW Classic at the top end, realm/region/world first races and the like and we had strict rules to control who was in the guild and things were verified on discord which is like a 2 factor authentication outside of Ashes. I feel people would get found out pretty quickly, at least in dedicated circles as you're on a lot, playing with the people you want to play with, and in the end would punish more open and inviting guilds which are usually great introduction guilds to MMOs.

    You do remember the betrayals, the drama, it does become part of the story of that realm, but it also greatly hampers the playing experience of those directly involved. But I think that's part of life, you're going to have good & bad people, some will roleplay as such, most are inbetween, deciding in the moment which action to take.

    Maybe implement some system, where if you're found out as a double agent, you get a brand and you're marked as corrupt to all people in that guild so they can kill you on sight with no consequences like a green player killing a red player or expand on that, punish them more openly so the whole realm knows not just the one guild affected. Maybe implement some kind of realm cryer, automate a system that gives an update each week on what guild has done what, who killed what world boss, player x betrayed guild y and was working for guild z, robbing their bank, guild f betrayed us all and is working with demons to take over the world.

    My worry with any sort of espionage system is going to be exploited. At the top end of every MMO are those who are highly competitive, very organised who play whatever the meta evolve into, I'm concerned they will abuse any mechanics in game to destroy the fun of everyone else, taking over all possible nodes, killing people after they kill a world boss and take a portion of their loot.

    But I feel that the underhanded players who use exploits are going to try it in every single system possible to get any advantage. Would be kind of interesting to get a spy into a guild like that just to mess with them, but better yet publicly oust them so they are always at a disadvantage for repeatedly exploiting the system.

    Having a spy system, if implemented right could be a lot of fun. Double agents tho, I feel you will get those naturally, having an in game system for it might help regulate it, but could make it worse too. Depends entirely on what exactly is implemented and how its moderated.

    Cheers, Ozi
  • If there is a system about spying added, I hate to say this, but it will be to protect the spies from harassment and other forms of grief play they could face.

    I'm not saying there should be no backlashes to spying, only that, no matter how destructive their actions have been, there should be limits to what is acceptable in response. Making playing the spy character a living hell? Sure. All the characters of its family on the servers? I guess..? Characters on another server? Nope. The players out of the game whether online or offline? Big no no.
    Be bold. Be brave. Roll a Tulnar !
  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Percimes wrote: »
    If there is a system about spying added, I hate to say this, but it will be to protect the spies from harassment and other forms of grief play they could face.

    I'm not saying there should be no backlashes to spying, only that, no matter how destructive their actions have been, there should be limits to what is acceptable in response. Making playing the spy character a living hell? Sure. All the characters of its family on the servers? I guess..? Characters on another server? Nope. The players out of the game whether online or offline? Big no no.

    (Obviously in game actions that do not violate the ToS should not have out of game consequences.)

    The reason spying is a problem is that they inherently aren't able to be punished (risk) relative to the rewards they bestow on the owner of their accounts 'team'. You are basically saying, and correct me if I am wrong, that the benefactors of the spying should be protected from their own actions. While you might think 'they can be punished on the spy account appropriately if caught.' That simply isn't the case, because the spy account isn't the account with something to lose here. The 'main' account is. If you have meaningfully lost something of value to you on a spy account when caught other than your time, you are probably doing it wrong.

    Protecting spy players on their other accounts removes the risk from the reward.

    So my question to you is what limits do you want exactly and why?
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    JustVine wrote: »
    While you might think 'they can be punished on the spy account appropriately if caught.' That simply isn't the case, because the spy account isn't the account with something to lose here. The 'main' account is.
    I disagree.

    To me, the main thing a spy would be after is information.

    If you know who is spying on your guild, feeding them false information in a way that benefits your guild is a punishment to that players entire guild.

    Whether it is proportional to what damage they did is a matter of circumstance, but there is scope there to punish.
  • JustVine wrote: »
    Percimes wrote: »
    If there is a system about spying added, I hate to say this, but it will be to protect the spies from harassment and other forms of grief play they could face.

    I'm not saying there should be no backlashes to spying, only that, no matter how destructive their actions have been, there should be limits to what is acceptable in response. Making playing the spy character a living hell? Sure. All the characters of its family on the servers? I guess..? Characters on another server? Nope. The players out of the game whether online or offline? Big no no.

    (Obviously in game actions that do not violate the ToS should not have out of game consequences.)

    The reason spying is a problem is that they inherently aren't able to be punished (risk) relative to the rewards they bestow on the owner of their accounts 'team'. You are basically saying, and correct me if I am wrong, that the benefactors of the spying should be protected from their own actions. While you might think 'they can be punished on the spy account appropriately if caught.' That simply isn't the case, because the spy account isn't the account with something to lose here. The 'main' account is. If you have meaningfully lost something of value to you on a spy account when caught other than your time, you are probably doing it wrong.

    Protecting spy players on their other accounts removes the risk from the reward.

    So my question to you is what limits do you want exactly and why?

    If there is greater punishing to be applied it should be to the contractor guild. Assault their keeps, siege their node, declare on-going war with them (members kill on sight, no trade with any of them, ...). The individual spy is not that relevant, once you know who it is...

    That would be the ideal scenario, but since guilds activities won't be contained solely in game, things will be messier. The more "work" was done out of the game (on discord for example) the worst it could get. It becomes more personal, and out of game means out of ToS.

    So the limits I think are necessary are that players have no easy access to other players' characters' info. No way to link them together or know the "master" account. Sadly, that umbrella also offer cover to other shady activities, such as fixing the market and other multi-characters con operation.

    Now, the best way, in my book, to defeat a spy is to be so brashly and ballsy open about what you're doing that you make their involvement pointless. And concentrate on silly things, no one bothers to stop people doing silly things.
    Be bold. Be brave. Roll a Tulnar !
  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Percimes wrote: »
    JustVine wrote: »
    Percimes wrote: »
    If there is a system about spying added, I hate to say this, but it will be to protect the spies from harassment and other forms of grief play they could face.

    I'm not saying there should be no backlashes to spying, only that, no matter how destructive their actions have been, there should be limits to what is acceptable in response. Making playing the spy character a living hell? Sure. All the characters of its family on the servers? I guess..? Characters on another server? Nope. The players out of the game whether online or offline? Big no no.

    (Obviously in game actions that do not violate the ToS should not have out of game consequences.)

    The reason spying is a problem is that they inherently aren't able to be punished (risk) relative to the rewards they bestow on the owner of their accounts 'team'. You are basically saying, and correct me if I am wrong, that the benefactors of the spying should be protected from their own actions. While you might think 'they can be punished on the spy account appropriately if caught.' That simply isn't the case, because the spy account isn't the account with something to lose here. The 'main' account is. If you have meaningfully lost something of value to you on a spy account when caught other than your time, you are probably doing it wrong.

    Protecting spy players on their other accounts removes the risk from the reward.

    So my question to you is what limits do you want exactly and why?

    If there is greater punishing to be applied it should be to the contractor guild. Assault their keeps, siege their node, declare on-going war with them (members kill on sight, no trade with any of them, ...). The individual spy is not that relevant, once you know who it is...

    That would be the ideal scenario, but since guilds activities won't be contained solely in game, things will be messier. The more "work" was done out of the game (on discord for example) the worst it could get. It becomes more personal, and out of game means out of ToS.

    So the limits I think are necessary are that players have no easy access to other players' characters' info. No way to link them together or know the "master" account. Sadly, that umbrella also offer cover to other shady activities, such as fixing the market and other multi-characters con operation.

    Now, the best way, in my book, to defeat a spy is to be so brashly and ballsy open about what you're doing that you make their involvement pointless. And concentrate on silly things, no one bothers to stop people doing silly things.

    I disagree with you in a few ways. That being said your wishes are more clear to me now. Thank you for answering clearly.

    I agree with you that the contractors (the benefactors of the spying and therefore those who get the reward,) should be the ones really at risk. But I can't really think of a good system of creating that mechanism. Big guilds with a lot of resources can essentially do so with impunity. You can attack them for spying, but ultimately they lost little for being found out in most scenarios I can think of.

    Protecting the spy when the spy's master account benefits from the spying also seems weird from a risk reward stand point. How can you make sure they actually stand to risk something meaningful if caught?

    The rest of your post all sound like good reasons to not allow spying in the first place. Yes it's not really enforceable, but keeping it from seeming legitimized is the only real weapon for keeping the messiness to a minimum as far as I can figure. Allowing it is basically asking GM's to always be swamped with petty bickering that isn't even in their control.
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    JustVine wrote: »
    Percimes wrote: »
    If there is a system about spying added, I hate to say this, but it will be to protect the spies from harassment and other forms of grief play they could face.

    I'm not saying there should be no backlashes to spying, only that, no matter how destructive their actions have been, there should be limits to what is acceptable in response. Making playing the spy character a living hell? Sure. All the characters of its family on the servers? I guess..? Characters on another server? Nope. The players out of the game whether online or offline? Big no no.

    (Obviously in game actions that do not violate the ToS should not have out of game consequences.)

    The reason spying is a problem is that they inherently aren't able to be punished (risk) relative to the rewards they bestow on the owner of their accounts 'team'. You are basically saying, and correct me if I am wrong, that the benefactors of the spying should be protected from their own actions. While you might think 'they can be punished on the spy account appropriately if caught.' That simply isn't the case, because the spy account isn't the account with something to lose here. The 'main' account is. If you have meaningfully lost something of value to you on a spy account when caught other than your time, you are probably doing it wrong.

    Protecting spy players on their other accounts removes the risk from the reward.

    So my question to you is what limits do you want exactly and why?

    This is a really good point - what does a spy risk?

    What if you make it expensive to invest in spying skills? That way, a character specialized in spying isn't something you want to use as a throwaway, and you want to keep the name of your spy characters clean?
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    maouw wrote: »
    JustVine wrote: »
    Percimes wrote: »
    If there is a system about spying added, I hate to say this, but it will be to protect the spies from harassment and other forms of grief play they could face.

    I'm not saying there should be no backlashes to spying, only that, no matter how destructive their actions have been, there should be limits to what is acceptable in response. Making playing the spy character a living hell? Sure. All the characters of its family on the servers? I guess..? Characters on another server? Nope. The players out of the game whether online or offline? Big no no.

    (Obviously in game actions that do not violate the ToS should not have out of game consequences.)

    The reason spying is a problem is that they inherently aren't able to be punished (risk) relative to the rewards they bestow on the owner of their accounts 'team'. You are basically saying, and correct me if I am wrong, that the benefactors of the spying should be protected from their own actions. While you might think 'they can be punished on the spy account appropriately if caught.' That simply isn't the case, because the spy account isn't the account with something to lose here. The 'main' account is. If you have meaningfully lost something of value to you on a spy account when caught other than your time, you are probably doing it wrong.

    Protecting spy players on their other accounts removes the risk from the reward.

    So my question to you is what limits do you want exactly and why?

    This is a really good point - what does a spy risk?

    What if you make it expensive to invest in spying skills? That way, a character specialized in spying isn't something you want to use as a throwaway, and you want to keep the name of your spy characters clean?

    This is a core problem with MMOs that applies to all forms of activities and griefing.

    In order for the game to be fun, there is a level of consequence that the player can never experience fully. Think about the RL punishments for espionage and treason, or the RL consequences for 'trying to do something for 48 straight hours without sleep'.

    Both of these things, while different, result in serious detrimental effects to the person, either health or freedom, perhaps even life. In a game, this functionally can't happen. That's a 'point of abuse' in itself. Not because games need those sorts of penalties, but because there are certain activities which become 'OP' without them.

    Spying is one such thing, 'zerging' is functionally another, 'no-lifing' levels of grind, a third. Most of the time, unless a game-system check is put in place against these, they're optimal strategies simply because they would be IRL too if one could physically be confident in surviving them.

    Any ingame 'spy character' stuff, will just be worked around by 'real spies'.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    maouw wrote: »
    JustVine wrote: »
    Percimes wrote: »
    If there is a system about spying added, I hate to say this, but it will be to protect the spies from harassment and other forms of grief play they could face.

    I'm not saying there should be no backlashes to spying, only that, no matter how destructive their actions have been, there should be limits to what is acceptable in response. Making playing the spy character a living hell? Sure. All the characters of its family on the servers? I guess..? Characters on another server? Nope. The players out of the game whether online or offline? Big no no.

    (Obviously in game actions that do not violate the ToS should not have out of game consequences.)

    The reason spying is a problem is that they inherently aren't able to be punished (risk) relative to the rewards they bestow on the owner of their accounts 'team'. You are basically saying, and correct me if I am wrong, that the benefactors of the spying should be protected from their own actions. While you might think 'they can be punished on the spy account appropriately if caught.' That simply isn't the case, because the spy account isn't the account with something to lose here. The 'main' account is. If you have meaningfully lost something of value to you on a spy account when caught other than your time, you are probably doing it wrong.

    Protecting spy players on their other accounts removes the risk from the reward.

    So my question to you is what limits do you want exactly and why?

    This is a really good point - what does a spy risk?

    What if you make it expensive to invest in spying skills? That way, a character specialized in spying isn't something you want to use as a throwaway, and you want to keep the name of your spy characters clean?

    The issue with this is that spying isn't and shouldn't be a character activity.

    It is a thing players do, not characters.

    Creating character attributes or skills around spying is like creating character attributes or skills around having friends, or knowing the games lore.

    It just doesn't work from a character perspective.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    maouw wrote: »

    This is a really good point - what does a spy risk?
    The same thing every other player risks in every situation. The only thing players are ever able to risk in an MMO.

    Time.

    Being an effective spy takes dozens of hours. As soon as you are suspected, those hours are lost.
  • NerrorNerror Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    As I've stated before, I still think Intrepid needs to leave this one alone and not do ANYTHING that focuses on this when it comes to player vs player interactions, like guild or node spies. 100% let players handle it.

    Now, some ingame stuff like thieves guild missions to steal documents and quest lines where you infiltrate NPC organizations is perfect. I would like to see Intrepid go nuts in that regard.
  • PercimesPercimes Member
    edited December 2021
    I can see one easy way to make spying very risky for the player: only 1 character per server. Once exposed, that career path is closed for that character and the reputation will last as long as people care about what was done. I the spy want to start fresh, the character must be deleted and a new one leveled again. As Noaani pointed out, time invested vs time wasted.

    There other pros but also many cons for a unique character per server. Although I don't see AoC going that way, it's not unheard of. Star Wars Galaxies had that limitation. But your character didn't have a fixed class and you could always decide level other skills, so it's the kind of option that need to be part of the whole design of the game.

    *edit: How do we distinguish spying from scouting? Spying is social scouting? Is scouting more acceptable and easier to implement tools and goals for it?
    Be bold. Be brave. Roll a Tulnar !
  • I would think that doing high-risk activities for information (not social / but tactical, size, number, resources) would be awesome but on a very limited basis. Getting caught should have a severe penalty. would be cool but a game this big probably has a lot of other fish to fry before getting into something this nuanced.
  • Guild Gathering #11 - Spies and Intrigue
    How do you feel about spies and double-agents?[/quote]

    I like spy movies and books. Spies and double-agents in a game I would not like. How do you build trust when you know that the new recruit could be a spy?
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    Nerror wrote: »
    As I've stated before, I still think Intrepid needs to leave this one alone and not do ANYTHING that focuses on this when it comes to player vs player interactions, like guild or node spies. 100% let players handle it.
    100% agree.
  • As a former spy, I don't feel I can really say anything bad about the system.
    Daveywavey-member.png
  • edited January 1
    Having been a spy and played with/against other spies in a 4-way guild conflict in another game, I think it can get pretty fun and make things interesting. Of course, I only really play roleplay guilds, so most of the "damage" is in-character as long as people don't drag their drama out of character (which is hit and miss, since some people don't differentiate their fiction from reality).

    Political drama in roleplay groups can get very complicated and fun very quickly. I do support it, within reason.

    That said, with how Ashes guilds have been talked about so far, I don't really see how this sort of system works very well without encouraging that only people who create and pay for multiple accounts will be able to do spy/espionage work effectively.

    As I understand it, players will be limited to one guild per account (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). That alone creates its own problem.

    Let's say one group of people want to make a guild that gets hired JUST for spy/espionage work for another. Well, how do they keep their own guild afloat if they're supposed to only join one? For one, I assume they miss out on a lot of guild perks, like perhaps a shared guild bank/storage to toss each other resources back and forth easily, or a shared guild home or message system, effectively decentralizing them and making them Not An Actual Guild. Which is fine I guess. Things like discord exist.

    Same thing with if people end up finding the need to send some of their members as spies into another group. They'd have to leave their home guild first to join another, and I guess there's workarounds for that, like just asking for things they need to be given from their home guild when they need them. But again, that decentralizes/disconnects them from their main guild right there. Some people won't mind that, others will.

    There's the other aspect of if the game decides to identify you by a common username handle such as in Elder Scrolls Online. If you play multiple characters and one is a spy, it becomes hard to hide it since you're identified by your handle, not your character. It didn't help either that the game constantly showed players' location in the overworld or player homes on guild and friends' lists, forcing spies to play "offline" a lot of the time to hide their location.

    People got around this by buying multiple accounts and spending more money, but then that creates a Barrier to Entry problem that borders on a Pay To Win element.

    I assume Ashes won't be barring people from buying multiple accounts as long as they otherwise play fairly (not to ban-evade, for example), so assuming only one guild slot per account and account handles will be how Ashes handles guilds, you'll end up seeing a lot of multi-account users playing the espionage game, with or without mechanics to help them out.

    Assuming Ashes DOES create some form of mechanic that supports guild spying/espionage, some very specific things would have to happen first.
    #1 Being able to join multiple guilds would need to be an option.
    Of course I realize that Ashes wants to create more of a community atmosphere with some commitment towards the groups you join, and having played Elder Scrolls Online for a few years, joining multiple guilds does somewhat water that down and make it harder to find members who actually stick around, so there needs to be a balance somewhere.

    A good middle-ground could be that you have two types of memberships. A "Permanent/Home Membership" and a "Temporary Membership", flagged by the game itself. I'd say the ability to join up to 3 guilds would be good (one Permanent, two Temporary).

    A "Permanent" Membership to a guild would come with all benefits and rank-up options for that guild. Access to that guild's services, perks, et cetera. Guilds would of course still be able to customize permissions by rank, but you would still technically have the possibility of access to it all.

    A "Temporary Membership" is more of a "I want to try this guild out" type of role. Whether it has a time limit will be up to each guild to decide, or it could go on indefinitely, but the game system itself locks them out of certain guild benefits like guild bank/storage, perks and services, et cetera. People can initially join as a Temporary Member and then move up to a Permanent member, but they can only be a Permanent member of one guild at a time to enjoy the full perks, and a guild leader/officer will be notified if someone already has a permanent guild/the person will be denied full membership unless they revoke their Full Membership in another guild.

    This could be played multiple ways, depending on how savvy the spy or saboteur is, joining other guilds to spy as a "Temporary Member" who has access to members and joining in on events, but maybe doesn't want/need access to their guilds' services (maybe it isn't relevant to their spy job, maybe their own guild has better perks, etc).

    Conversely, they could keep a Temporary Membership in the guild they're spying for, if they plan to stay in the spying gig for the long haul in another guild, so they at least aren't totally disconnected from the guild they're doing the spying for, but they don't get any actual game perks from it.

    In both scenarios, they run the risk of being discovered if someone else finds them to be a member of the same guild by also joining both, or if a 3rd party spy infiltrates one or the other and sees they're in both guilds, perhaps on suspicion that there is a spy in one or the other at all.
    #2 A way to hide one's identity between different guilds
    Assuming Ashes is going to go by using game handles, this one is a bit tricky, but I think I have a good idea for it.

    If game handles will be a part of Ashes and how guild/friends lists work, we need a way to hide / disguise that. Perhaps an item that can either be equipped at different times or be one-time-use (or both).

    These should be uncommon items that are difficult to find and need some sort of requirement to get, similar perhaps to Siege Scrolls for nodes in their own way.

    One method could be going on a quest to receive an item.

    Another could be a series of faction and crafting-based requirements, such as a user having a certain level of crafting expertise in a particular crafting tree (like an armorer/clothing worker, for instance?) as well as a certain rank within a faction such as the Thieves Guild, and if they have a high enough level in both, they could craft special items towards this purpose (requiring, of course, special materials).

    These crafters could also sell or give the item needed to other players, creating a market for them, which could create an extra level of potential intrigue to the game, such as tracking down users who are known to supply such nefarious items (and since a player will require being a high level in both certain artisan classes and faction ranks and need to be able to acquire rare crafting ingredients, it won't be a simple matter of just abandoning a character once they become known as a Supplier to shady individuals).

    There could be two primary types of "identity hiding" items. An item that can be equipped/unequipped at any time until its broken/loses durability (more on that in a moment), for short-term work and perhaps with a visual such as a face-hiding hood, or a one-time-use item for when joining a guild to spy under an "alternate identity" with hidden handles if account handles will be a thing.

    There will need to be some limitations however, such as a player cannot use a "temporary username" that someone else has as their permanent user handle (For example if someone's user handle is "I-Love-Space-Rocks", they couldn't use that, for the obvious reason of impersonation issues), they would have to use a handle that is not already claimed by another user for a permanent handle that the game system will check the same as it does during account registration for duplicate names.

    Mind you, the item to "hide one's identity" when joining a guild to spy on would be optional. A spy could, if they wanted, just join as themselves and not bother hiding at all, depending on their playstyle and needs.

    Also if a user joins under a "fake handle" but let's say they do some pretty awful report-worthy stuff, their true user handle would be revealed once they are reported and banned from the guild. This would be so that guild leaders can't just abuse using minor guild kicks or make false account reports to "reveal" spies, because no reasonable guild leader will report a user to Intrepid for nothing at all, but if they do something serious (like stalking, harassment, death threats, etc) that warrants account action by Intrepid, guild leaders will also know who so as to protect their members from harm. This way the spy system can't be cheated by just kicking people out on a whim and adding them back, but user safety and the integrity of the Intrepid ToS/Rules of Conduct can still be upheld and the game won't protect user identities under serious infractions.

    While I know some people will be concerned about users being able to join their guild under a "false handle", I DO have ideas towards...
    #3 Counterplay!

    If you have any spy/espionage mechanics, you NEED counterplay that is also supported by the game mechanics.

    For wearable identity-concealing items that are more obvious, the idea is simple. Destroy or remove the item with another item designed specifically for unmasking people. It could have a low durability and be easily destroyed in combat, or a special item or skill could be used to remove it.

    I figure the ability or item to dispel identity-hiding would be appropriate to the Bounty Hunting skill lines especially, where you can get special items just for spy-catching at higher or master ranks. Thieves Guild could also offer tools for this. After all, who can catch a shady character better than another shady character?

    For more permanent "guild infiltration" type stuff with hiding account handles, there could be a few different ways to handle this, similar but not exact to above.

    One main tip-off I could potentially think of relates more to spy's with "Full Membership" rather than "Temporary Membership". After all, someone with Temporary Membership poses less risk to a guild on a gameplay-functional basis, since they can't access things like guild storage/bank and other services or perks. They simply cannot do as much damage, except the amount of damage a guild itself allows them to get away with, and overstepping what they're allowed to do/have as a Temporary Member would be a pretty big giveaway of someone possibly being in a group under less than honest circumstances if they want a lot given without actually committing to a guild.

    But what about a spy with "Full Membership", under disguise no less? They pose a much greater risk, so there should also be risk involved for them. I assume the game will have some sort of record-keeping, such as guild bank/storage withdrawals, service uses, et cetera. If a spy joins under a "false handle" and makes it to full membership, there could be a random chance of something funky showing up in the records.

    Let's say someone's actual user handle is, idk, DogLover102, but they join the guild using their one-time-use disguise item and the guild thinks their username is ChickensRawesome. This is also the username that will appear to other members in-game instead of their usual handle as long as they are on the same character they've joined that guild with, until they're either discovered or leave that guild.

    So, "ChickensRawesome" withdraws some items from the guilds' shared storage. Most of these entries show up as normal, but every so often through pure RNG, you'll get an entry like "???? withdrew 50 herbs", or if you have some sort of special guild-only service, "???? used this service". This won't immediately give them away, but it will tip off the guild that someone in it is not who they say they are, and they can begin investigating. It would then be up to the spy to cover their tracks as long as they can or get out. The more they access a particular guilds' services or items, the higher the chance their position will be given away by the pure chance of numbers, so a spy will want to be careful about how they "exploit" a guild they're infiltrating or become discovered. For someone that plans to spy on a guild for the long-haul and even perhaps get into a "high rank" over time and likely be expected to access services to keep the guild itself running, the more likely they are to be discovered unless they do it really well.

    On top of that, you could have other people with skills to counter identity hiding mechanics, such as certain specific skills or items earned through Bounty Hunting or Thieves Guild or Scholar's Academy type factions.

    For instance, someone with a high Scholar's Academy ranking might have a skill or item that helps reveal weird records. The "????" shown on a guild ledger might become revealed to them, either as the "fake" username or the "real" username, or you may get a partial username, like ??ic??n????e???s or a scrambled username like "ikscerecwhensmoa" that they then have to manually put back together to match something on their list of users (which I think adds a pretty fun "who dun it" kind of element to the game)

    Or you might have a Bounty Hunter or Thief ranked character acting as a Spy Catcher who could lay some sort of trap item on a particular service that has a time limit on it, such as 24 hours, that could "reveal" a spy's name in red any time the RNG would normally put it as "????". These would also be uncommon and somewhat costly items to get, so they can't just spam them every day all day with or without suspicion, but not anywhere near as costly and rare as the initial item that disguises your identity upon joining.

    At that point, it would be up to the players, who both have tools to counter each other, to play the game smart and try not to get caught/try to catch the other.

    It could also open the doors to things like double-agents, turncoats, negotiations between users/groups when a spy is discovered, et cetera. I've seen a lot of things come out of these whole "spy" scenarios in roleplay at least. Its a whole lot of fun.



    The main problem with "guild espionage" as I see it is that one or the other side has NO counterplay options so one side or the other is at a drastic disadvantage, and without counterplay, a game like that is more frustrating than fun and more toxic than done in good faith. You lose a lot of the toxicity in my experience when people are having fun with it because the system supports it BEING fun (there are some people who are just trouble, but that's not an issue with the system itself).

    "Who Dun It" type games are fun as long as everyone has a REASONABLE chance to win or lose and its not too one-sided. There's a satisfaction both in doing the spying and being a spy-catcher, either because you bested the other person at their game, or getting to give a little nod to someone else who did it better than you once you figure it out for a job well done.

    Honestly I think if you made the process something that's fun, engaging, and rewarding for both sides, it could be a good element.

    One thing I do know is that its going to exist in the game regardless of if the gameplay actually supports it or not, so its not a matter of "is it going to happen", because it will, its a matter of "how can it be made into a fun experience for players instead of nothing more than griefing just to grief".

    #4 The Alternative: Cross-Faction-based Games!

    If you really want to design some mechanics for the fun of some intrigue, creating Cross-Faction conflicts between joinable factions such as Scholars, Thieves, etc is also something that you could do. Instead of having Spying, Espionage, and Sabotage between player guilds, have quests with goals/items of interest between in-game/NPC Factions that offer incentives both for people of different factions to work together or sabotage each other.

    Let's say there's an artifact item that both the Thieves Guild and Scholar's Academy want. You have players from both groups after it. They could work together and get one type of reward for both achieving the item, or they could work to sabotage each other and get the item for their faction for a different type of reward.

    The players involved would have to decide what's valuable to them and what their goals are, and some players might play along and be friendly at first, only to betray and try to take the item for themselves in the end. The end result might also affect their "rank" in their Faction, positively or negatively, depending on how the quest results.

    Since Factions and Guilds are a separate matter, you could have some spy elements going on there with different members of the guild having different end goals than other members based upon their faction, rather than betraying one player guild for another player guild.
    My AoC Wishlist:
    -Avian Tulnar (topic video)
    -Dwarf-to-tallest race heights for Tulnar
    -Crows/ravens for Falconers
    -AC:O & AC:V type aerial scouting for Falconer
  • NerrorNerror Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited January 3
    As I understand it, players will be limited to one guild per account (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). That alone creates its own problem.

    As the system is planned for now, it's going to be 1 guild per character.. So alts can be in different guilds. This allows for spying on one account, with the caveat of the superman/Clark Kent issue of not being able to be in the same place at the same time with your spy and main. Out of game you can do two separate discord accounts, and if sneaky, perhaps some voice modulation as well. It still heavily favours a double PC setup though.
  • qurionqurion Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Spies and double agents, eh? Hmmm... Not sure how that would work mechanically. Might be hard to implement mechanics related to them. Unless we're thinking infiltration and corporate espionage or heists-like mechanics. Should treasure vaults be vulnerable to theft if the security usn't good enough? It would be cool - but imagine the whine it would generate.

    If you decide to add it, it shouldn't be a launch feature.
  • DolyemDolyem Member
    Honestly out of all of the other systems I feel like if this one was actually seriously considered for this game, it should be all the way at the bottom of the list. I just feel like nobody is actively asking for this sort of system when it happens outside of the game already in several games let alone MMO's.
    GJjUGHx.gif
  • Intrigues happens anyways, so there is no need for this system. A Recruter with experience can often detect Spies or they get detactet by actions of them like recruting in our guild for other guilds.
    Guilds are important for an MMO because of the social aspect.

    A while ago i got a Spie in my guild that I couldn't throw out because of internal politics. It was a "normal" healthy guild but my members were bored because of the lack of content, so they (Spies) used this to take over the guild and make promises to make everything bedder - whitch not happend. after a week the whole guild broke into pieces and dissapered. Because of this many of them go back to there past MMO and only 2 stayed but were not aktiv playing anymore.
    Because of this i didn't think it's a good idea at all to support this with any mechaniks.

    And if a large PVP guild dominates the server there are lots of players who split into a new pvp guild because they are bored from hunting non or less experienced player and wanna fight real fights.

    But there is an other Idea from an MMo: if the guildleader didn't show up for 3 weeks the guild colead/officer/member can apply for guild leadership and the leader gets an email that this happend. If a week is over and the leader didn't show up - it changed. So this way loyal members didn't go under with the guild because it can stay aktiv.

    So Spies and Intrigue are maybe fun in the short therm but it harms many guilds and so lots of players.
    take a look at EVE online to see what development this has led to. (The admission of new members is difficult because everything could be spies)
  • Rasper NorRasper Nor Member
    edited January 5
    I love this idea because it is a common player fantasy and official mechanics codify it as "legit" behavior rather than being interpreted by some as something worth a CoC report. Official mechanics sets a cultural standard of what is acceptable, and allows the dev team to adjust it's impact. This also better defines what is NOT acceptable in the sandbox. Maybe the dev team is okay with looting the guildbank, or wresting control and removing people, or maybe they aren't. This can be a way to have a real statement about "fair play", and still let those who get high on that kind of social interaction get their fix.

    I think the greatest danger long term for AoC is that servers will be controlled by powerful mafia that stifles change, and multiple systems such as this one can help destabilize them. Imo, current guild members need to be able to have the option to betray their guild in meaningful and material ways, not something that is only premeditated by someone at the time they enter a guild.

    Additionally, it incentivizes guild leadership to be popular with ALL of their members and stick to their pitch at recruitment. This seems like a great way to give tension to guild leadership, increase membership to have more production power or keep a tight knit circle that is powerful and loyal but limited by sheer size.

    This can also be a way to flesh out secondary class choices that enhance a character's ability to conduct espionage, if they are able to put up a "facade" class choice for when they are inspected. Perhaps let them use the abilities of the "mask" class but they are less effective. It could be genre defining to have multiple ways in the systems that make "information" not totally 100% reliable. The closer AoC is able to get to D&D but be playable, the happier I'll be.

    It is hard to design elegantly, but I believe it is possible to have an incredible amount of neat interactions and impact with this idea while the amount of actual mechanics are small and tight. Figuring out which ideas are solid gold is gonna be hard with this one, but I think it would be so valuable to test it all out.
  • I think it would just end up introducing toxicity to the community.
    Will people spy and steal? Yes, as it is a part of the game.
    Should there be additional advantages for doing this? No. Spies in real world dnt get bonuses out of thin air just cuz they were good at it.

    Let these things run there natural course rather than implementing systems to further support this.

    Lets take 'Among us' for example. Imagine running around the game not knowing whom you can trust just cuz spying comes with insurance and additional benefits... Among us is a short game, MMOs are not. It would get tiring real fast.
  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I personally am more interested in how many people think spying should cost an extra 15$ a month if Intrepid can't come up with a better way for making Spies have a real risk for their reward.
  • DolyemDolyem Member
    JustVine wrote: »
    I personally am more interested in how many people think spying should cost an extra 15$ a month if Intrepid can't come up with a better way for making Spies have a real risk for their reward.

    If spying actually became a game mechanic thing I would make so if anyone were caught they would be strung up(character locked) for a day or 2, and have their gear equipped at the time of discovery stripped from them and pawned for the guild they were spying against. Big Risk vs Big Reward.
    GJjUGHx.gif
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