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backgrounds on website

 
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voidwitch



Joined: 04 Aug 2018
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2024 6:28 pm    Post subject:

I think the theoretical changes to backgrounds are interesting, but I HATE that the default setting seems to protect all backgrounds now (i.e. they do not appear visible for any current living character on the website AFAIK).

Let me lurk with impunity! I love reading your dumb stories! I wanna know why you hate yellow cake! It's so good, but surely you have a reason!
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varliv
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Joined: 14 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2024 7:12 pm    Post subject:

@voidwitch since you like backgrounds you should take a wander through the halls of the Consortium either the Scholars or Mystics to be exact. there you can find all manner of lores even help create some lores
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Davairus
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2024 8:47 am    Post subject:

That's worth a thread of its own in the RP forums. lts going to need to be worked out a bit to see where it settles, but to be clear, they DO show up after a herald interview is done currently, which I personally thought isn't asking a whole lot. and its also been to do with misuse of access to this (metagaming), not just due to purely promoting in-game interactions like that. Think of the Justice cabal for instance, who writes an obviously lawful background and then everybody can trivially read the backgrounds so they can easily deduce the cabal applicants without talking. or think about the super sneaky evil ninja Legion applicant who doesn't want to telegraph their intentions for all the heralds to see. alternative solutions will have to address these valid concerns or explain how this is justifiable other than to provide some juicy reading where it would probably be much better discovered in game first.
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Scrynor



Joined: 26 Jul 2021
Posts: 83
Location: New York

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2024 6:45 pm    Post subject:

Voidwitch's main point is a really good point though. It's the default setting being secret. I bet almost nobody knows this. I had no idea. I can't see the background entries of my own characters on the website now.

The need for secret backgrounds for cabal aspiring characters or for those pursuing a secret history reveal arc is one conversation. The default is another. The default should be public. The character should opt in to secrecy. Content on the website is a draw for potential outside RP players. They can go to the players page and see all the madness and click on them and see how alive the player base is and learn a little about the characters in the inside they could go meet. That's a good thing. That should be on by default.
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Mogu



Joined: 21 Mar 2015
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2024 10:23 pm    Post subject:

I completely agree with Scrynor here. Seems like a simple fix - just flip the default to public and cabal applicants can opt private if they wish. Another idea is to just make the player decide public/private when they submit the background entry.
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Davairus
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 1:59 am    Post subject:

happy to have that discussion in a real thread instead of the venting thread

edit: I moved this into the patch forum. i think its important that everyone gives their 2c as we discussed this as a team (imms) and decided thats what we would like.

original proposal
Code:

backgrounds should be locked down and private (imms only) unless the player reveals them by
(a) deleting their character
(b) posting a cabal app (visible only to the senior ranks in the cabal that was applied to)
(c) bought patronage (visible to heralds)
(d) "went public" (allowed a herald to interview them)


responses included
Code:

Always thought characters should be able to have a secret background and reveal things at the right moments
It also allows IMMs to craft stories around those secrets which can be lots of fun


this was then revised to also include the "protect" command

Code:

by using the new "background protect" command, backgrounds can be made private (imms only) unless the player reveals them. Exceptions are:

(a) deleting the character
(b) posting a cabal app (visible only to the senior ranks in the cabal that was applied to)
(c) "went public" (allowed a herald to interview them, making it visible to the heralds)

This update also include a new "interview" command for heralds.


I might've also just coded it in stupidly, as I think this reads like everything new should apply only to protected backgrounds, but it was tested and feedback from the tester was that it worked the way they thought it would.

I really don't mind how it works as long as there IS a way to make a background secret. Would just like it to be clear what the goal is before I go plug away at this for 3 hours and find out its not what anyone wanted. It isn't the easy fix you guys are imagining unfortunately.
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lionSpyre



Joined: 07 Sep 2015
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 12:20 pm    Post subject:

I think more time should be given to let the new system play out (default secret backgrounds). I’m thinking about this for two reasons.

- Say you’re checking out backgrounds and everyone’s is public EXCEPT that super sneaky drow ninja character. Then you know that they’re either going Justice, Legion, or maybe even shooting for a regulator as a Keeper. Either way, you know this character is going for a PK cabal and, in lots of cases, can probably deduce which one just by looking at their gear in game. Of course this isn’t a fool-proof deduction, but 9/10 you’re probably going to be right. The point is, making everyone’s descriptions private does actually give anonymity to those applying for cabals, while making those cabal applicant’s opt into secrecy puts a flag on them.

- Making it to where your background can only be revealed through a herald interview gives players a good reason to reach out to heralds and engage in RP. Heralds can even consider rewriting backgrounds for highly impactful players. This whole idea allows heralds to provide a great service that, I imagine, will both bolster the ranks of the Consortium while encouraging RP amongst people. Whole new events could center around interviews. It would be particularly nice too if it’s considered a major faux pas to attack either the interviewer or interviewee. Maybe heralds can hire muscle for this sort of occurrence.
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Dogran
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Joined: 13 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 4:06 pm    Post subject:

I like secret backgrounds. Sure its cool to be able to read about someone, but isn't it cooler to interact with them and get them to tell their story? This is an rp enforced game, people shouldn't know your history before you tell them. A lot of people still have trouble keeping information they know, with information their character know separate, this is a good way to help that along.
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BlackWidow



Joined: 24 Apr 2014
Posts: 473
Location: Yes

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 9:15 pm    Post subject:

Might as well chime in here.

Personally, I think giving the player the choice with each of their characters (and indeed, perhaps with each background entry they submit if they choose to write multiple entries for a character) is the way to go, while making it obvious to the player what will happen to their entry after it has been approved (possibly even submitted).

Defaults are subjective and I understand the arguments from all sides. As somebody who spent more time writing in this game than I care to admit, it can be nice/fun/enjoyable to see what other people have written. Which is why I might enjoy having more public entries available (though I'm not sure public default is a good idea).

On the flip side, making everyone's character background entries available on the main website kind of defeats the purpose of playing. It's possible to search for keywords within whatever background entries are available to you, so finding a specific story again on a new character isn't difficult if you remember some important detail. Also, by making the entries private by default, it's harder to metagame the system. If I can't see the entries, I get less information and the experience is more immersive because I am not making assumptions as easily or subconsciously treating people a certain way because I *think* I may have recognized them by their writing style.

One specific example recently where I feel a private background entry would've been appropriate or at least given one player a bit more freedom if that had been available was the character Evalina. Parts of her background entry were deliberately censored or left out, and while it would not be strictly necessary, allowing somebody playing a character like her to post a private entry to the Immortals with these details actually included would improve the game in my view.

So in conclusion, I lean towards private entries as a default like we have now, but I think allowing players the choice is the most important thing.
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voidwitch



Joined: 04 Aug 2018
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 11:47 pm    Post subject:

From the update’s initial language, I assumed one would have to opt into protecting their character backgrounds, which I found compelling as a role-playing device; however, the opposite seems true, and now backgrounds are “secret” for all living characters.

I think this could be detrimental for the role-playing environment. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed discovering the nuance of characters I encounter in-game by later reviewing their backgrounds. While one might contend that this could contribute to meta-gaming or allow OOC information to permeate the IC experience, the same argument could also be made for displaying descriptions on character sheets, on showing logs, even booklets authored by the character, etc. If I were new or returning to the game after an extended absence and poking around the website, I would assume that role-play had atrophied by observing the empty character sheets. Initial changes to these sheets (log mentions, Mystiques, booklets, all that) added valuable dimension and connectivity to the game.

I also understand Dogran’s point about encountering this information ICly and think it is a salient one, but those experiences (while meaningful) are not a direct substitute for the narrative experience a well-written background affords.

I also appreciate all of BW’s points and am only approaching it from the other side.

TL;DR: I think this could be an exciting change if secrecy were not the default but rather an optional alternative.

I also have some ideas for improving or adjusting this mechanic, but those may exist outside the scope of this thread (and if so, Dav—I’m sorry!).

Idea #1
Extend the concept of reputation to intra-character interactions, and a character’s background becomes visible to a character when they receive 1K reputation with their buddy (reputation could be accrued/measured passively through time spent in a group, time spent in the same room, etc. Could also be added manually by characters to each other via a similar command to ‘honor.’).

This could be extrapolated to provide even more interesting RP tools / quirks: for instance, we could implement tiered backgrounds, so you get part of my story when achieving a certain reputation threshold but get the rest or “full story” when achieving another.

Idea #2
Allow characters to post decoy backgrounds with the “real story” only being revealed via the herald’s interview mechanic or if a secretive character deletes or chooses to go public.

Idea #3
Crib from the idea of the ‘interview’ command, but more personally: allow characters to decide which other characters to trust with their background. The negative of this idea is that backgrounds would only be visible in game, but perhaps that is preferable for some.

Upon reflection, these ideas mostly share a theme: namely, allowing characters to customize the audience of their backgrounds.
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Dogran
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Joined: 13 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:43 am    Post subject:

So make it so characters can release the info to specific characters which will then unlock for their while acct. Then when you rp your story with someone you can choose to show then.
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BlackWidow



Joined: 24 Apr 2014
Posts: 473
Location: Yes

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:34 am    Post subject:

The word immersion comes to mind as a one-word summary of what I feel we are trying to achieve on both sides of the coin. Public background entries allow players to get caught up in the stories other people have written. or to showcase their own RP, which is a form of immersion as it brings the game to life in its own way for those of us who like to read or RP.

Private background entries on the other hand are an attempt to deal with problems which ruin immersion for some people or which allow people who don't attempt and/or care about immersion to make things less fun overall.

The fact that AR has both fantastic PK and RP opportunities (better than anywhere else I've been actually for combining the two) means that it often attracts people who lean one way or the other heavily. Some people simply like the adrenaline rush which comes from PKing and for them RP is a secondary focus. Then there are the people who RP well and who choose not to engage in PKing any more than necessary.

I don't envy the job of the Immortals in having to balance things out in a way which satisfies both our PKers and our RPers, that's for sure. The reason I lean towards private entries as a default is because Consortium members generally have access to those entries anyway, and if you like reading them chances are you're also at least a passable writer and you can contribute to the game more directly while within the Consortium.

We do after all choose to not include the latest edition of the Mystique on the main website... One final thought (since I've rambled by now): perhaps exceptional background entries (I think elevating them is even an option) might be shown like we show the latest elevated descriptions on the players page? There is a lot of material on the website already, but if more than one person likes a background entry due to the content, perhaps it should be on display like the book of the month/year or whatever...
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Stiehl26



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 693

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:58 pm    Post subject:

To be fair this is not an rp enforced game. It’s a pk game where you do what you want and make rp excuses as to why. “I’m evil you’re good” or vice versa. To go with Dograns statement..no one should know one single thing that wasn’t observable meaning you learn someone’s class when they tell you or someone else tells you. You don’t know they’re evil unless you see an evil act.
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Scrynor



Joined: 26 Jul 2021
Posts: 83
Location: New York

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:07 pm    Post subject:

So I'm pretty sure some of my opinions here will be not be shared and the camps will probably split down two lines. 1) How much time you have to play. 2) How much DnD you've played in your life.

I have always held the opinion that descriptions, backgrounds, books, and Mystiques on the website are the only things where you are *supposed to cross the in-game / out-of-game*. Those items straddle the line. It is in-game knowledge presented externally.

There are a couple good reasons for this.
1) People have more out-of-game time than in-game time. In game, there is stuff to do and threats to avoid, a minimum play time threshold, and the risk of adrenaline expanding that. Out-of-game, we can freely learn about each other and events at our leisure.
2) The notables of Serin can be hard to engage for extended RP because cabal characters will be instantly pulled into fights by a rival..
3) Having the basics of who a character is before your first interaction with them jumpstarts you to more fun and interesting interactions. It's totally possible to play with somebody for hours and not ask them the question they want about who they are. Reading their background circumventes that.

That third one is where I mention DnD background. When you start a new campaign, you typically sit down and go around the horn. Everybody takes a turn doing two things. 1) Describe yourself. 2) Tell me about your background. You don't just start cold and buy them a drink at the bar.
You do that in DnD because it jumpstarts things.

I write a background for the same reason I wear my Cleveland Cavaliers jersey or my Nuclear Throne t-shirt to the bar. I am declaring to the world, ask me about the NBA. Ask me about indie video games.


TL;DR - I personally think everything above has a ton of value to the play experience in-game. Pragmatically, I understand some may have a desire for some secrecy in specific cases. But the concerns about identifying who is bound for what cabal or who is what player behind the keyboard? I do not think that is a real concern personally. Those that hide it well, it is hidden. Those that are obvious... I can tell within 5-10 minutes of playing with them. I don't need your description and background for that.
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Davairus
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2024 5:09 am    Post subject:

Scrynor, we are not playing DND... we are trying to insert a character into a pre-existing world to try to compete against experienced players, some of which have no qualms just using backgrounds as intel to help avoid a PK (at best - at our worst we "out" each other via writing styles).

For the backgrounds which were created already, maybe we should revise this to make those public. I think it would be best if when the background publish command is used in future, it requires you to choose protected, public, or undecided. No surprises, and no mandates, you should be able to choose whether everyone can read it beyond the important circumstance of checking if your cabal application makes sense. I'm not sure where that leaves the interview command I added for a Herald, but maybe you could use it to persuade people who are undecided whether to let you see it. Then of course, a protected background would just not show up, so isnt going to "out" anybody.. they just won't know about its existence in any way.

It would be nice to trust individuals whether they can see your work, but seems potentially a big effort, and it would be nice to keep it simple and straight-forward as much as possible. It seems like the Herald interview is a convenient way to flip undecideds.

I also have a feeling some of you guys might like a feed where you can just follow the public backgrounds instead of having to rely on looking characters up.
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Scrynor



Joined: 26 Jul 2021
Posts: 83
Location: New York

PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2024 5:13 pm    Post subject:

Dav, that is a very specific we you just included yourself in. I am not in that we. I am doing something in your world that is very similar to playing a digital version of dnd adapted to a larger player base in a different medium. I'm a bit surprised to hear you narrow the scope of your game so much.

I agree some of us would like that feed. Also, if the tides are taking this away from my interpretation of internal game knowledge presented externally then some more internal support for that info would be super nice. Maybe a mob in the taverns that can recite public backgrounds like a herald and a way to list which characters have freshly made public backgrounds.
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Davairus
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 10:15 am    Post subject:

OK here is my shortlist of things to do.... this won't all be a six months wait.

soon (tm)

1. add the parameter <protect/public/undecided> to the background publish command
- protect means that bio is totally invisible until delete or manually made public (other than imm, since someone needs to review and approve these for cabal applications at the least). note that the reason we do want this is because the community culture has players who prefer you learn what they tell you about themselves IC
- public is not reversible once used and means it'll be visible on the website.
- "undecided" status will change to public status on herald interview.
2. anything currently not protected will become the new "public" as soon as the additional parameter is ready for use.

patch
1. add feed of approved background to the players page, same area as gilded description feed
2. add in-game mob /codex or something to pay for background info

extra thoughts
- do we want a way for a herald to write a public bio for a character that didnt do one or decided to stay private? perhaps do that instead of having the undecided status? that way, heralds can still ensure everybody has a background, and it might be interesting to see on the delete, what the herald wrote versus what the player originally had in mind.
- for the rare case of "herald orbituary poem" being done, usually just for the mystiques, do we want a way to make that be a background entry? we already have mystique mentions so i guess we maybe dont need it, but I notice these get left on the logboard
- do we want gilded backgrounds so that the feed can be filtered to backgrounds that slap
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Scrynor



Joined: 26 Jul 2021
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Location: New York

PostPosted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 3:26 pm    Post subject:

Gilded backgrounds is a great idea. Iron sharpens Iron. Creativity fuels creativity.
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Davairus
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2024 10:34 pm    Post subject:

OK all thats missing from what I posted previously should be the feed.

sample backgrounds to show there's gilded ones.

https://abandonedrealms.com/players/display.php?name=avenar
https://abandonedrealms.com/players/display.php?name=Ysthyrcia
https://abandonedrealms.com/players/display.php?name=grell
https://abandonedrealms.com/players/display.php?name=chaut

---

issues found:

-> there is already a mob that you can pay for history, it just is tied to some older version of background at the moment. it seems this is actually just a bugfix. Are you guys aware of that mob ? and if there is already a reciter can you let me know? (heralds can recite backgrounds)

-> the gilded command is 'elevate' and its an existing in-game command (I didnt elevate the above bios)
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Davairus
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2024 12:06 pm    Post subject:

I found out that the mob that sells ancient history is Vikka and you can do either buy 'information list' or buy 'information <name>' , it has some really old stuff on it. I'm not sure how well this is going to work if we open it to searching ALL backgrounds, we have a lot more nowadays. 500g per spin.
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