Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby Ian » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:26 pm

No thoughts on XP yet myself, just chiming in to say:

I've located the settings for the art gallery, and they appear to have been actively turned off. I don't remember why that was, but I'd not be surprised if it was related to the lack of anti-Spam options that are kicking us in the ass in other ways now. If there's the desire for such a feature on a new site, though, we can definitely put it on our checklist of implementation options--there's lots of options out there!

Signature and avatar options are buried in the phpBB settings. The signature limits in place here appear to be the phpBB defaults, and I believe the avatar situation is the same (save that a couple of WoD-themed avatar packs have obviously been added to the base install). Those are easy changes to make in any halfway-decent forum software; you just have to be sure to put some reasonable limits on both.
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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby Keith » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:25 pm

Seekerthefallen wrote:
Keith wrote:Here is a quick thought.

Instead of submitting journals monthly, submit a log of IC chat that your character took part in. We can then easily see what happened, and how long the RP was to award XP accordingly.

Separate the logs by date, and identify the character(s) name(s) in the title of the log so we don't end up with double logs. Decide among those in the RP who will submit the log, and we can then check all the names in the log and see what was posted.

This would award those who go IC, and also be more motivation to go IC.


there is merit in this. Perhaps not the whole log. Maybe juust a start finish time. With dms and pdms around. We could them write off the validity.. I wouldn't mind the honor role to .. Of saying yes billy and sally did rp for x amount of time .. I was there either in the ic or lurker

Or, a start and finishing post to show the time spent in RP, and a bit of the scene. I think one person in a group should post the start and finish of all though. It'll prevent multiple requests for the same RP scene. It wouldn't be a lot of effort, or time spent going over up to 12 or so posts. All the names of the characters would be listed as well as the day and time.
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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby tachus » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:02 pm

in my mind posting scenes will be the same result as the xp journals... you could have player 1 login one day this week for an awesome 5 hour RP scene adn that be all they did... whereas player 2 could login for 3 scenes a day at 2 hours each with minimal RP interaction actually happening...

unless you post the whole scene and a DM takes the time to read through it you cant tell the difference... yet player 1 only did 5 hours total for the week and player 2 did 6 hours a day every day...

the daily xp is something that helps balance out people not always being able to make it online to RP with others... im speaking from experience seeing i'm one of those with the most random time zone difference...

right now with the daily login xp, you can get from 1-3 fairly quickly (about 4 months of daily xp alone) but when you get higher levels if you are stuck with only daily xp its slow... upwards of 10th its 6 months a level...

i can agree that the blanket xp for the month would be nice, but then how do you change it up for people that mighta just hit a level a few days before the xp blanket goes through?

i think that the xp journal could work well, but it should be allowed to include relevant IC forum posts also so that those that cannot login everyday can also include something additional in the journal... such as like a post about PC's struggles while crafting an item they made that month or something....

just my 2 cents on the whole idea...
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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby J.C. » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:45 pm

First, Ian, if I remember back when this was addressed, it was a server space/money/user that shut down the postable pages, whether it was for the personal journals or the pictures we over ran the server space.

Second, Experience Points.
As you all know, I have been playing this game more than 40 years and have seen the whole gambit of XP gathering. The daily fix is the least destructive way of gathering XP, it does however mean that your character will not receive the funds to keep up with that. Now, the simplest way of resolving THAT delema is to increase the amount of gold dished out at the adventures because we are running I believe at 50% or less gold per adventure now. Everyone knows that the higher in level the characters get, the harder it is to find anyone who will run an adventure, so IF you were adventured to say 10th level, that is where your character will stay without daily XP. It has taken me 8 years of adventuring AND daily to reach retirement level, so gathering daily is not that hazardous.

On the other side of this, you want to give what, the 4 semi-active DMs say, 14 or more postings a week to sift through, and award XP from? When was the last time you needed to level a character, or after helping someone make a new build, get it approved? I am sorry, but personally, I won't ask any more of the DMs than they are already putting forth, and we are all making this happen on a new site?

Please don't get me wrong, I dearly love everyone who has volunteered to be a DM and respect the amount of time it does take to approve a character (since it takes me 4 weeks to make one) and personally, I think it would be very selfish of me to ask anymore from them and expect it done without totally disrupting their real life in a timely manner. I think that until we have paid DMs that have nothing else to do but to work the site, we should let them have their lives away from here, not add to or complicate their lives more than we already do.

The problem of daily XP vs Gold can be easily fixed by bumping up the amount of Gold per adventure, and when we do adventure, it will even things up.

Ian, I need to ask this, since it seems that we are getting a new programmer. What funds would you like to see for the building of this totally new system? I know that there are servers with huge bandwidth for very little money, but this isn't going to be Free.

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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby JuneBarcarolle » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:57 pm

At this point there's no reason to assume we can't continue to have the daily xp option, so it's not necessary to look for alternatives just yet. However, I am enjoying the discussion to see what everyone (players and DMs) think of it or potential alternatives.

Having said that, here's some food for thought.

Having to write out journals reminds me a lot of homework as a kid. It's stuff that I don't really want to do myself, and I probably wouldn't do more than skim through in reading someone else's. To me that's not fair to the players who would put a lot of work into such things. And I know we have people here to who do just that. I would rather see people focus all that time and energy actually playing, whether in adventures or in rp. So grabbing a log of a scene would alleviate the need for more creative writing. (This also means we need to have a log feature on the new site. *makes mental note of that*)

As for rewarding such a thing, we currently do have recommendation xp awards for people. If a player sends one of the DMs a message saying "Sally and Billy did a great job of rping" or other notes recommending they be rewarded, we'll give those characters bonus xp. So we would still have that sort of thing for role playing sessions.

I've always viewed the daily xp as a means of making sure that characters didn't fall behind in level if their players were unable to get into adventures. Because let's face it, there are never enough adventures no matter how many people are running. :( We've tailored the xp for adventures so that characters aren't jumping in levels no matter how high in level the rest of their party is. So if your 1st level wizard survives adventuring with a party of level 10+ characters, he'll still fit in with the rest of the 1st levels when he returns to tell the tale. Without daily xp, we definitely would need something to supplement adventuring xp.

Having a blanket xp award for characters every month could fill in that gap. As a DM I would rather it be something that the site did automatically than having a few dozen character xp submissions in my inbox at the beginning of every month. :shock: But doing it that way also takes control away from players who didn't want that kind of automated xp.

I wasn't going to be the first person to bring up the wealth factor, but since JC mentioned it I'll throw in my thoughts on that as well. :wink:

If we are looking for new ways to "adjust" characters for level with xp, it is possible we could do the same for wealth. I wouldn't want any character to become independently wealthy from just logging in or just existing, but bumping the wealth some along with the xp does make some sense. (I would recommend doing any kind of "adjustment" to wealth at level up though, just for simplicity sake.) We always assume characters have some trade or occupation that pays the bills after all. And plenty of people rp their trades, whether it's as a noble or a merchant or guard or .....

Another way to look for adjustments to wealth would be to recalculate the treasure tables to account for the current adventures being run. We have adjusted them in the past and we can certainly do that again. We don't have nearly as many pDMs as we did the last time we adjusted those numbers.
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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby Kemian » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:27 am

Thoughts in general:

Should we choose to invest in having a Programmer perform the necessary changes we should keep 2 things in mind.

A) The code will need to be periodically touched up to fix minor problems and eventually replaced completely or seriously upgraded.

B) If we get someone to do the initial programming for free they probably are not going to want to do update work for free.

For those two reasons, it might be better long term to pay someone to do the programming changes because it will likely come with a warranty period so to speak or we might be able to reach an SLA (Service Level Agreement) on periodic updates.

Thoughts regarding XP Journals and XP awards in general:

When I have the time I like to write. No DM has the time to wade through my creative efforts for three PC's every month and there would be times when I wouldn't have the time to do the journals the way that I would want to do them so I would skip them and deny myself XP. This system probably isn't fair to the DM's and it certainly would not be fair to the people that write 5 thousand plus words per journal to get the same XP as someone that only writes 1 paragraph per journal. This system would simply be too onerous on both sides to be viable.

Regarding XP for Role Play, as others have mentioned there is a mechanism in place already for this but people rarely use it. It might help if people understood what the scale was for being nominated for good RP and to be honest, I don't think I have seen it explained anywhere, what is more I think it should be scaled by level (as the adventure rewards and daily XP login are scaled) and I personally think it should at least count for as much XP as a single adventure scene possibly two. (There would be potential for abuse on this so perhaps as a rule of thumb you could limit such awards to two per month and the same person can't nominate you more than once a month.)

Finally the Daily XP Login is a fine tool to ensure those people that are on odd schedules or are temporarily away from the game have a chance to keep pace with their peers but that has had the disadvantage of leaving people perpetually poor for their level and the only real answer to that problem has been for people to play spell casters that can craft and sell to other PC's while the more mundane type PC's are doomed to not only be less effective at upper levels but to be under equipped at that same time. Therefore I think if we decide to keep the Daily XP Login (And I think we should) that we should also consider Some sort of means to ensure that when a PC reaches a new level that they have a way to at least get closer to the average gold per level listed in the DMG.

On the golly gee whiz front: If we could have a map function that allows us to upload preprogrammed boards it would make being a Player DM IMMENSELY less difficult because I could build my maps before hand.

A gallery and Journal section would be nice to have but not critical.


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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby Stam » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:57 am

Discussion here and elsewhere has convinced me that regardless of my above suggestion, XP Journals won't work - or won't work well enough to make people happy.

I like the idea of indexing levelling PCs with a bare-minimum net worth. Revising the adventure-income tables to reflect number of scenes being run...will not really fix the income problem for people who just aren't available at the right times. While adventuring SHOULD be the main way to earn gold, and crafting shiny magic things IS a proven alternative way of making it too, it would be nice for some fallback option for the noncaster classes, or noncrafters.

Spambot-blocker, everyone seems to agree, is required.
Journals would be nice. I used to have fun with those.
Gallery would be nice, if server space allows.
Map utility would be very nice. I don't *need* them, but many players prefer them.

Personal Pie-In-The-Sky:
Some way for Cast pages (the ones the Chat direct-links towards) to clearly show race. Most if not all people, myself included, omit this from the description.
Calendar with easy-option way for DMs and pDMs alike to announce upcoming scenes.
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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby JuneBarcarolle » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:49 am

There are a couple of different kinds of recommendation xp used here. If a DM logs in and wants to reward people for rp, we usually give 25xp to each pc. If someone sends us a recommendation for xp for good role-playing, the scale we give is 10xp per level to each pc. While it's not a huge, it's a nifty little bonus to people who usually don't know it's being handed out. It's also one of those things that I've never seen abused.
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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby J.C. » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:59 pm

June, I have known this to be an excellent way to reward those that do RP, but it also adds to the Gold deficit by adding XP without gold.

How about a small amount of gold to go with that, say, I duno, 5gp/20xp?

Most of us that do remember to make a Craft roll can get more than that per week.

I am not sure exactly what the formula is we currently use for adventuring gold to xp, but that doesn't sound to me unreasonable.

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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby Mark » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:56 pm

Regarding XP:

This is not nearly as much work as people are making it out to be. As the former Mage ST, I can attest to this.

XP journals do not have to be novella regarding what the PC has done unless the PC never logged in. An XP journal should be a neat summary of what was done, rather than expansive descriptions.

Example: To the Question "What did your PC learn this month?"
Answer: "My PC learned more about elven society after having spent several days volunteering to help work at the local elven temple."

Boom. XP given. And the character easily qualifies for an IC reason to picking up that Knowledge skill or whatever.

Now, is this more work than characters and DMs are doing presently? Absolutely. But under our current system characters are rewarded for simply being logged in. Part of what we strive for here on the site is social RP and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. If we wanted stat and treasure development, there are plenty of MMOs just for that. Having a system in place that rewards RP, and perhaps even requires it, will be better for the site.

"But Mark," you say, "We already have the exceptional RP system in place!" We do, but I find this system is used infrequently. I've been involved in good RP and find myself not usually doing recommendations. Likewise, if the regular players continue to RP together and recommend each other, it is likely someone might call foul for always recommending one another, which may be true, but may also be false. Simply said, we need to reward RP consistently.

SO at what point do XP journals become more work? Really, they do when you haven't been RPing. If you've just been logging in for XP then you have no idea what your character has been doing because they haven't done anything. Then you have to start getting creative with explanations as to why your character suddenly is graced with higher level spells from the Gods above or whatever. If you've been RPing consistently, then your journals should be simple and brief. Might you forget something you did? Sure. But you'll likely still be able to fill them out swiftly and easily and get the XP you deserve.

This system does needs consistency. Full XP for simple descriptions of what your character has been doing and such. No need for massive soliloquy when a single page of text will do.

I don't feel free gold for getting XP is a good system. It simple exacerbates the issue of people just putting in minimal play for cash and the ability to get cool goodies. It's pretty much the equivalent of paying some Korean dude to get me stuff for my WoW character with minimal effort on my part.

Yes, this system does have more work. It's not nearly as easy. But I feel it will be more rewarding. Character develop, complete goals and grow. Players get the satisfaction of seeing this development, and DMs get to be part of the process. Put the effort in, and get the rewards out.

As for site changes:

-Maps that icons can be dragged, rather than deleted and replaced.
- Status additions. What do I mean? The ability to add next to a PCs name a condition they might have or a modifier. That way, instead of trying to remember every round that you are sickened or have that +2 to bonus to hit, you can be reminded with something next to your character's name.
-The ability to ban people I don't like.
-Free booze Wednesdays

More to come.
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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby JuneBarcarolle » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:53 am

-The ability to ban people I don't like.

I think the site gave itself this one already. :evil:
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Re: Site Issues and Updates - Discussion Thread

Postby Ian » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:24 pm

To make regular site cleanup and maintenance a little easier, I have enabled the Mollom spam filter for the Drupal side of the site. It won't impact you guys much at all, as I'm about as sure as I can be that it doesn't affect forum posts and you guys rarely post content on the Drupal side anyway; if you do and find it blocked or notice other possibly-related issues, let me know.

For what it's worth, the phpBB spam filter only appears to affect the opening of spammy accounts, not spammy posts. Even that doesn't help in this case because phpBB uses the Drupal account database anyway (and there is no installed filter for Drupal to keep out spammy accounts--the only option I've found is to require an admin's approval for all new accounts, and believe me, I'm considering turning that on).

So while we're debating New!Site stuff, I'm doing what I can to try and relieve the pressures on Current!Site and make its remaining weeks as usable as possible. Bear with me as I try this stuff out.
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