Duel Assassin, the aftermath

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Kalamere
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Duel Assassin, the aftermath

Post by Kalamere » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:38 pm

Firstly, I want to thank everyone that participated in Duel Assassin. I learned a lot from this first run and had fun putting it together, I hope it was at least mildly enjoyable for those of you who got involved.

I think that to do this again, the rules will need some significant tweaks. Rather than make them in a vacuum, as I did for this first run, I would like to get some input from you all on what you think would work best.

I guess before we even get to adjusting rules, I need to ask if you would be interested in doing it again? Please be honest here, I don't want to waste a bunch of time trying to tweak an event that most people wouldn't want to play again anyway, know what I mean? I also understand that there was minimal IC value to the game, so perhaps it doesn't hold interest on that front.

Beyond that, and if there is interest to do it again at some point, these are some of the problems I see.

* Unmasking: At a minimum, I think the masks need to last longer. I wonder if this feature has any merit at all though. Would it better to retain the mask longer or just keep them on for the entire game?

* Health Points: I think perhaps there should be a cap or that bonus points are more difficult to earn. Unless something happens tonight to change it, the game will end with 9 agents still in the game (40% of the entrants). Considering it is an elimination game, that is an awful large number.

* Keeping people in the game: To counter the above issue on health points and eliminating people, it seems to me that keeping people in the game longer might be a good thing since it's pretty hard to find agents at this point and it seemed that the first couple weeks with lots of agents around were a good deal more fun. I'm not sure exactly how to balance these two concerns. Perhaps we say that no one is eliminated prior to week 3 or 4.

* Finding Marks: With people only asked to duel 2 times a week, it was harder (especially late in the game) to hunt down marks than I had anticipated it being. I was thinking that perhaps it would be better to assign 2 marks a week, though only allow agents to claim credit for 1 of them. Would that help? Thinking of how I would script that gives me a headache, but I'm fairly sure I can, given time.

* Point scaling: As there are fewer people in the game in the later weeks it becomes increasingly more difficult to earn points. Keeping everyone in the game longer would help this, obviously, but I also wondered if the points earned should be increased in later weeks of the game to account for limited availability. eg: An agent defeat is +1 AP, +1 Damage to the loser in week one and two. +2 to both in weeks 3 and 4, +3 in week 5 and +4 in week 6. Making up numbers just to illustrate the point. Mark values would have to increase as well so that they are always worth more than other agent kills.

The last thing I want to discuss is what would be appropriate benefits of rank. Things that aren't drastically powerful, but those that do well one season should get some kind of bonus for the next. I'm thinking 4 ranks. 1st mostly newcomers, 4th being the winner(s) of the game. Initially I had though something like rank 1 starting with a mask value of 5 rather than 4.. and that kind of thing. Determining the rank benefits should wait until I figure out the next set of rules, but it should probably be kept in the back of the mind as we move down that path.

That's all I have for now. Please voice your thoughts if you participated in the game... and don't be afraid to hurt my feelings. I didn't actually play the game, so your insights will be valuable to the process.

~Kal
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Post by DUEL Tass » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:33 am

If this were to take place again, I would enjoy it.

My brain is a little off kilter this morning, so bare with me.

I would like to see something done with the assassin points. Perhaps make them refundable or something. 5AP gets you 2HP, 10AP gets you 5HP, or something like that. I am not sure if you want to then make assassin points a litter harder to get or not (since i dont know the numbers people got in regards to them).


eta: forgive the official name.. it is what i log in with and dont pay attention
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Post by MurOllavan » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:23 pm

Yes, I liked it and would try it again.

I really wish I would have remembered in week 3 that winning involving still being alive. Sort of. Because, I'd make an alt character up if I were to play again. Higher mask or no mask, It would have been much easier for me to play as well as have fun doing it. I mean, had I remembered the rules the 'correct' answer would be for Mur to quit dueling for a week or so, or to look for easy wins until his HP rose again. I'm fairly sure I wouldn't have liked doing that, changing his dueling pattern to fit with that.

I would have liked mark hit = auto-knockout. So there isn't HP but there's AP. Perhaps also a new mark assigned same week? I don't know how to make the game rules where I wouldn't create an alt though. I'd still enjoy the game though.
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Post by The Russian » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:41 pm

1. I would do this again, it was very enjoyable.

2. I found it odd that I had the same mark two weeks in a row. And it was a Mark that was barely around to duel, so I didn't really have much of a chance to try facing them. And I made sure I was available each night in Swords and Fight Night, and at least one night in Fists each week. That's 5 nights of the week.

3. I got knocked out after the second week. However, I completed every one of my tasks(Except for a Magic one, I think.) and dueled two times each week, going 1-1 both weeks. The only things I didn't do was duel my mark, and one of 6 tasks(I think) Yet, being knocked out after the second round concluded left me with a "WTF" reaction, as if I went through a lot to try and get everything done for no real reward.

So, I don't know. Maybe the scoring system needs some rework. Maybe the knockouts should be more difficult.

I definitely think that Unmasking shouldn't be done, really. It makes targets too easy to figure out. And Marks. People learn who are agents because they're marks. Maybe there could be a way to let Marks be considered anyone who dueled by the last standings? By date on the standings? Something, I dunno. I did like the two special events, though. Those were nice. :)

Marks only serve to reveal who are agents, though. That's a downside.

I can't think of anything else. :D
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Post by Kalamere » Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:43 pm

Same Mark two weeks in a row: This was actually done on purpose. I had set it up such that, where possible, each agent would retain the same mark for 2 weeks unless: They defeated that mark, The mark had been knocked out or The numbers didn't work out to allow for that due to other factors. I did this mostly because the more marks you get, the more people you know to be in the game. I admit it is especially bad when you have a Mark who isn't showing up, as you did. Rekah is a sweetheart, but I think she may have forgotten she was in the game.

I was hoping that assigning 2 marks at a time might be a solution to that, even though it would still be possible to have 2 people that aren't coming around, at least your odds are better that 1 is.

Knocked out after the 2nd week:
You had the misfortune of losing to the person that had your name in both of the first 2 weeks. Tristanie in week 1 and then Rand in week 2.

Should knockouts be more difficult? I think that is one of the issues up for debate. Mur, in the post above yours, indicates that a mark hit should be an auto-knockout... which is directly opposed to that view (keeping in mind that it took 2 mark-hits to knock The Russian out of the game, and actually would have been avoided had she gotten in a 3rd duel (without losing to another agent) in each of the first 2 weeks).

The two ideas are in direct opposition. On the one hand I'd like to keep as many people in the game as long as possible, because it's more fun that way and more inclusive. On the other hand, it IS a game of elimination and having nearly half the agents still in the game at the end seems broken.

Figuring out how to balance that is one of the reasons we're here =)
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Post by Napoleon Bonarat » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:37 pm

Posting as Napoleon and not as the character I had in the game.

Yes, I would play again.

Issues:

I would like to have remained on the mailing list even though I was knocked out. I kept forgetting to check the standings. Just because I'm knocked out doesn't mean I lose interest. :) Plus, maybe there's a way for those of us that were knocked out to play some sort of spoiler (aside from being contracted).

I was frustrated from the start because my mark showed up one night, dueled twice, then when I asked to duel, he said "nope, sorry, all done." So, I think right off the bat, duel minimum w/o penalty should be at least three, probably four, with bonuses added on after that. And I'd also suggest that the assassins make an effort to show up at least two different days (ideally three) and stay for at least an hour/hour and a half when there's actually a dueling population in the rooms. I know there's a fine line between having a big ole target on your back (visibility) and plotting strategy (stealth), so some sort of "fair game" balance would be nice on the part of the players.

I would have liked to play a little longer without getting unmasked. But some of that was my fault because I focused too much on the tasks, which brings my next point up.

I think tasks should be worth more. Either each task completed is worth something with a bonus if all three are completed, or something like that.

Ideas:

An idea with regard to knowing who the marks are by process of elimination. Is there a way to make it so there's hints rather than an outright name? Like "your mark is female, a current baron, duels all three sports." I could guess my mark is Teagan, but I wouldn't be sure. Or along those lines, the marks don't necessarily have to be assassins, but just people that frequent the arenas in general. For instance, I don't know if Koy was in the game (three people still masked) but a hint for her assassin might read something like "don't let her fashion sense fool you, she packs a mean punch." Much like you had Get Harris and Get Gnort. This retains a little of the assassin secrecy.

Also on the same vein, you could do gradual unmaskings. "Your mark, Agent 99, has pale hair" in week 3, "Your Mark/Agent 99 has pale hair, is female, and likely has elven blood," Week 4, "Your Mark/Agent 99 has pale hair, is female, and owns a store with members of her family" in week 5.

Question:

I notice that not everyone is unmasked. Is there any reason to not unmask them now that the season is over?

Might add more as the discussion develops.
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Post by Kalamere » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:53 pm

Tass wrote:I would like to see something done with the assassin points. Perhaps make them refundable or something. 5AP gets you 2HP, 10AP gets you 5HP, or something like that. I am not sure if you want to then make assassin points a litter harder to get or not (since i dont know the numbers people got in regards to them).
Top AP was 38, Bottom was 1. The average was 15.1 and the median 13.5.
Exchanging them for health or something else is kind of a neat idea, though I wonder if it over complicates things. Also, since the overall rankings are done by AP, would people be willing to sacrifice the points in exchange for longevity? I'm not sure. Also, I don't want to keep getting through week 6 with so many people still in, so I hesitate to create more opportunities to gain health.
Napoleon wrote:I would like to have remained on the mailing list even though I was knocked out
Errr.. Mailing list? I never set up a mailing list. Do you mean something else?
Napoleon wrote:Plus, maybe there's a way for those of us that were knocked out to play some sort of spoiler (aside from being contracted).
I was kinda disappointed how little use the contract system got. That aside, I agree, though I don't know what the solution is. One way is just to keep people in the game longer. I like the idea of not doing that though and then figuring out some other way for retired agents to stay involved. Definitely open to suggestions on that one.
Napoleon wrote:I would have liked to play a little longer without getting unmasked.
Agreed. My thoughts are that if unmasking continues to be a feature of the game (which, I kinda think maybe it should be, but am not solid on yet) then the mask should certainly stay on longer.
Napoleon wrote:I think tasks should be worth more.
This one I don't think I agree with. At it's heart, the game isn't about the tasks, it's about taking down the other agents. The tasks are little side quests so to speak that give everyone something else (hopefully fun) that they can play with... but... I'm of the opinion that they should not be worth more than defeating another agent.

Also consider that, while I try to give everyone 1 easy, 1 medium and 1 hard task, there are still variables in there. I wouldn't want to overvalue them knowing that one agent may consider all 3 of his tasks easy to medium, while another considers all 3 very difficult.
Napoleon wrote: Is there a way to make it so there's hints rather than an outright name?
I like that. It'll be difficult though and I would have to require that any agent entering the game have a full profile in RoH. For example, I know a lot about some characters in the game. The Minxes, Teagan, etc. The Russian though? I never saw her prior to the game kicking off. I don't know how well I would do at this type of thing, but I'm willing to try it if enough other people think it would be a good idea.
Napoleon wrote:I notice that not everyone is unmasked. Is there any reason to not unmask them now that the season is over?
I dunno, I kinda figure they earned the right to keep their masks on. They are, of course, free to state who they were if they so desire.
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Post by MurOllavan » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:46 pm

To clarify, my suggestion about auto-knockout was basically had you considered the vanilla version of this game, where its normally played as hit your mark and don't get hit yourself? Though I will say the more I think about it, I do like the extra enhancements you made.

Some tasks seemed pretty difficult, particular those that seemed to depend on rank. Winning a DoS duel without cuts and without fancies I found to be extremely hard, though I bet it would be very easy for a warlord.

Winning a DoM duel with offense only could be very hard for app vs app, I think I actually luckboxed that one. Were I losing, I could have just used adv offense many players wouldn't have.

Some tasks were dependant on certain characters showing up that week, which may or may not happen.

Would have liked 5 tasks with a bonus for 3 and a secondary bonus for all 5. This would balance the 'some tasks seem impossible' where the first bonus is light(like +1 mask?), and the all 5 is the good bonus(+1 mask,+1 health?) but takes that last task that is very hard.

Think the activity hp rules should be closer to:
0 times: -5
1-2 times: -3
3times: -1
4-6 times: 0
7+: +1.
Or something that would balance the spread of number of duels which I'm sure was huge while keeping marks available.

Have you considered 7 or 8 week runs?
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Post by Agent 12 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:42 pm

6 weeks did seem like a good length of time.

Agree with many previous comments:

Finding agents in later weeks was more challenging. Keeping people participating somehow might be nice.

Regarding the reveals...4 seemed like a low number. Maybe unmask upon "death" or perhaps upon being tagged as a Mark? So Agent vs. Agent duels remain at 1 point, but if "assassinated" then get unmasked. It's an idea.

Some of the mission tasks were nigh impossible. e.g., trying to win a duel with only 3 moves. But, it seems appropriate that some mission tasks be really difficult. Pulling off a quad cut in a duel (and scoring at least twice) proved adequately challenging.

I like the idea of being able to go after two marks. In terms of value...that could be true/false. 0 = no marks tagged. While 1+ (so they could defeat any number of marks) completes the assignment for scoring. They get the bonus for scoring one of their marks, but additional marks don't make "true" any truer, so they get the bonus once.

I think the minimums were pretty good. It was hard enough getting 3 duels every week. Sometimes it just wasn't possible to get in more often.

I do like the contract concept. Sorry to hear it wasn't used more.

I can envision a "contract board" perhaps on the website. Where agents could put up targets, and then other agents could grab the contract. So that you might not know who's picked up your contract. (Obviously no one should be allowed to pick up a contract on themselves.)

I thought the figuring out who other agents were via the marks was reasonable. So, even if unmasking was made more difficult in some manner, I think it was ok to learn other participants by getting their name as mark.

With the Contract Board idea...maybe agents (or the admin) could put in "red herring" contracts every now and again...contracts for people that are not agents. That way every mark might not be an agent. Or contracts could also be already retired (dead) agents? And if the mark wins the duel, maybe they get reactivated? Just ideas.

Overall, I think it was a lot of fun. Did find myself spending time trying to figure out who the other agents might be. Which led to a certain paranoia of "oh crap...was that person an agent who just beat me? Did they have me as a mark?" The paranoia was a fun part of the game. Then waiting anxiously for the standings update to see if I'd been hit.
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Post by Goldglo » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:53 am

I sorta screwed myself in the first week; I spent too much time trying to accomplish one of the mission tasks to the detriment of dueling, and I think I lost like 3 or 4 matches in a row before I got the task done. Plus, I got hit by the person who was targeting me, so I spent the rest of the game on health-paranoia, trying to be really careful about notching points back up.

I agree that maybe there should be multiple marks, or a tweak to the system; I had the same mark 2 weeks in a row and that person kept outright refusing to duel me (plus it was fairly tough to even find them in a room). Not the end of the world, but it was a bit frustrating.

I liked the Mission Tasks (don't ask me how I actually pulled off the "Win a DoF duel on an Uppercut" thing twice) and wish I could have been around more on the DoS/DoM nights to try and get some of those nailed down.

Masks, to me, seemed somewhat pointless - at least, I didn't seem to suffer a detriment for being unmasked. Maybe I was too ignorant to notice, and maybe because I was only masked for a short period of time, but mask-on or mask-off didn't make much of a difference to me.

All in all, I thought it was fun - it'll probably be better with more people next time around, and some rule-tweaks. My brain's shot, and I know I had more to write, so if I think of something else later, I'll post again.

Oh, and lastly, thank you for putting this together and running it :)

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Post by Kalamere » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:07 am

Mur wrote:Would have liked 5 tasks with a bonus for 3 and a secondary bonus for all 5. This would balance the 'some tasks seem impossible' where the first bonus is light(like +1 mask?), and the all 5 is the good bonus(+1 mask,+1 health?) but takes that last task that is very hard.
I was thinking something along these lines, but without allowing people to accomplish ALL the tasks. Basically assigning more tasks per player so that they have more options to get things done, but still only allowing 3 total to be completed.

I hadn't given much thought to items that allow players to gain bonus mask points. Might be a good way to go though.
Mur wrote:Think the activity hp rules should be closer to:
0 times: -5
1-2 times: -3
3times: -1
4-6 times: 0
7+: +1.
Very few people duel 7+ times a week. Especially considering Summer travel and all that. I do want to encourage people to duel, or course, because that's the only way Mark's will ever be around to be fought, but I think your values are too high. Of the 23 Agents in the game, I think there are maybe 4 or 5 who duel that much.

That said, I can see the value of increasing the "baseline" (the value at which there is no penalty and no bonus) from 2 to 3... even 4 though might be a touch high, so if there is a bonus to be had, 5 might be too high to achieve it. I mean no offense, since you're one of those 4 or 5 people who do duel this much, but there is a fine line to be walked before I'm just encouraging power dueling, and that isn't something I want to do.

Maybe if we said: 0 duels = 4 damage, 1 duel = 3 damage, 2 duels = 1 damage, 3 duels = baseline and 4 duels = a bonus of some kind. I'm not sure I want to continue giving health as a bonus. With people earning +2 health a week from duels and tasks, it got to a point where they were near impossible to take out of the game at the end.
Mur wrote:Have you considered 7 or 8 week runs?
I chose 6 weeks because it worked for my schedule. I was supposed to be going out of country starting last Friday for 2 weeks. Of course, that's now been postponed until next week Friday. I'm not stuck on 6 for the future, though I do think it worked out alright.
Agent 12 wrote:I like the idea of being able to go after two marks. In terms of value...that could be true/false. 0 = no marks tagged. While 1+ (so they could defeat any number of marks) completes the assignment for scoring. They get the bonus for scoring one of their marks, but additional marks don't make "true" any truer, so they get the bonus once.
That's pretty much what I was thinking.

If I do that though, I would still want to try and maintain Marks for 2 weeks when possible. Not both of them, but have it staggered. Week 1 your marks are A and B, Week 2 they're A and C, Week 3 they're C and D, etc. I think that changing 2 marks every week reveals too many identities.
Agent 12 wrote:I can envision a "contract board" perhaps on the website.
This is an idea that Tristanie has been offering since before the game started, but I just can't think of a good way to make it work. I could salt it with non-Agents, but then I'd have to let people take those non-agent contracts and ignore the results. I'd probably have to salt with real agents as well so people can't just use it to figure out who isn't in the game by looking at it, but then how do I deal with someone mid-week saying they want to offer a contract on an agent I'd already listed? Plus, since there is potential down side if your contractor loses, I would think Agents would want more say over who their contractors are? I dunno, I think a contractor board might have too many difficulties wrapped up in it.
Matt wrote:Masks, to me, seemed somewhat pointless
I've been approaching masks from the standpoint of making them last longer. This statement makes me pause though. Firstly, maybe it isn't the issue I think it is, but secondly, I wonder how the game would function without masks at all? I dunno, maybe I'm wrong, but I thought the hidden identities made it a little more interesting?
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Post by MurOllavan » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:07 pm

Kalamere wrote: Very few people duel 7+ times a week. Especially considering Summer travel and all that. I do want to encourage people to duel, or course, because that's the only way Mark's will ever be around to be fought, but I think your values are too high. Of the 23 Agents in the game, I think there are maybe 4 or 5 who duel that much.

That said, I can see the value of increasing the "baseline" (the value at which there is no penalty and no bonus) from 2 to 3... even 4 though might be a touch high, so if there is a bonus to be had, 5 might be too high to achieve it. I mean no offense, since you're one of those 4 or 5 people who do duel this much, but there is a fine line to be walked before I'm just encouraging power dueling, and that isn't something I want to do.
All true. I was aware my own bias would make the chart wrong, but I was indicating that health should be harder to get(or perhaps not through #duels) and that dueling 0 times should be discouraged stronger. I would also say activity was high in first week/even second. I wonder if there could be a first half of game/second half change. It was nice to see almost twice the activity, ostensibly due to the game. Would also mention that this chart/idea goes away with multiple marks...

My own take on multiple marks. It would have been real nice to have at least two...I was thinking during the game there could be a primary mark(in game) and two other secondary marks(perhaps worth less but not in the game necessarily, in fact probably not). So two hunting harry type tasks but they are perhaps 2ap? I don't know how much work that would create for you, though. Either that, or simply having a mark takedown on a character that is not in the game as a task would have been cool.
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Post by DUEL Rand » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:20 pm

I think masking was interesting. I'm not sure if I liked it or not, but it was interesting. I was unmasked as early as possible. I feel like it was a little harder to get a duel after that. The best part about masking was not knowing who was playing. Next time around, there's a high level of confidence that one of the Agents will be Rand, or Mur, or Tass, or Matt, etc. I think this makes masking a lot less interesting. I wouldn't say get rid of it, as some remained unmasked, but I can't see it making a difference for Rand next time around.
I'm not sure I want to continue giving health as a bonus. With people earning +2 health a week from duels and tasks, it got to a point where they were near impossible to take out of the game at the end.
How about +health only applies to damage earned that week? So you can't increase your health at all, but you can nullify some pain taken in a given week?

Make tasks worth more if they're done against other assassins?

Create a Mission Control Bounty board. MC can post targets/tasks (Agents and non-agents) along with rewards for completion. Maybe a penalty for not dueling, or angering MC, or being unmasked but on top could be to be a bounty target. Perhaps agents could also post bounties here, with some way of earning the knowledge of who posted it available.

Example: Rand posts a bounty on Mur for winning too much. Matt the Hunter decides to go for it.
A) Matt wins and gets a +1 ap bonus, and also learns the next week that Rand was the one who posted it. Mur takes +1 dmg for losing.
B) Matt loses. Mur gets the +1 ap for winning, and learns next week that Rand posted the bounty. Rand shares the dmg with Matt (both +1, or both .5?)

More later probably.
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Post by Kheldar » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:40 pm

I think I would probably participate if it were run again. I've been reading over the thread and thinking about it and I had some thoughts as well.

There was a suggestion of raising the number of duels needed. I think this might help, but I would do it on a sliding scale either by week, or by percentage of agents left in the game. So at the start of the game 2 duels is the minimum to not be penalized and 3(or 4 if you wanted to somewhat cut down the number of extra hp people earn). Once 50% have been eliminated you move it and 3 duels gets you free of a penalty and then bump it again once it gets to 75% elimination so in the final weeks you need 4 duels is the minimum to not get penalized.

I also think a similar method could be used to handle the unmaskings. First two weeks everyone involved stays mask. Third week anyone under 20% of the highest hp total gets unmasked, fourth week 40% and so on. Obviously I just made the numbers up on the spot and we'd have to look at them with the statistics and what not to find the right totals but I think it's a workable solution.

For the tasks I would look at potentially giving a bonus for an agent that completes their task against other agents. It seems a lot of the tasks made things fairly risky, so it would make a lot more sense to do them against someone not in the game, or someone eliminated to erase that risk. While you don't want to discourage people from dueling people not in the game, I would think giving a bonus for tasks completed in agent matches would at least reward people not taking the safe way out.

Maybe more later I'll think about it some.
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