Unfortunately this is not a chat log about the under bridge dwelling variety of trolls, I like them. Instead it is about those people who find pleasure in causing nothing but misery for others, not such a fan of them. In a game where murder can affect the amount of playtime your money buys you we, quite rightly, want reassurance that trolls or griefers are not going to put us out of pocket.
Let’s start at what makes a troll in this game? If someone one incapacitates you, performs a coup de grace causing you to lose spirit, and when you return to your body half the contents of your backpack has gone, does that make them a troll? Perhaps. But, perhaps not. Perhaps, they have spent time and effort to learn that you are transporting a very valuable item in your backpack. That the safe house you are taking it is down a road that goes through several remote locations. That you are not taking guards to try to look inconspicuous. Being attacked then is just a part of the story. I think Miguel ‘Souzou’ Sierra, Community Manager for Chronicles of Elyria, has summed it up best:
Murder is as much a part of the game as many other things. Murderers are not by default “griefers”, because murder is an intentional mechanic in the game. … If your purpose of playing the game is simply to abuse other players and detract from their experience, you’re probably a griefer.
So how do we do the developers at Soulbound Studios intend to tack those that do the latter? Well there are a couple of ways. The main instrument is punishment if they get caught. “But hey,” I hear my fictional reader who is running through the Astral Plane trying to get back to their corpse yell “I was just killed and lost spirit. What punishment is going to make them accountable for costing me play time?” Well it is about balance. You might not have lost anywhere near as much spirit as you might think and they are certainly going to lose a lot more. Caspian laid it out for us in this weeks live chat:
The amount of Spirit lost depends on several factors; did you die to a PC, an NPC, was it something relevant to the story, were there no witnesses, etc.. So in some cases, the amount of spirit loss from being killed can be very small. However, the spirit loss for killing someone if captured is always greater than, sometimes multiple times, the loss of spirit for the person who died. So let’s say you killed someone, and they lost a few full week of play time. A full week, if captured, you could lose a month. And that’s per-incident. So if you camped someone… if caught, you may very well find your character dead.
The punishment can certainly be severe. However, this is not the punishment of everyone who kills, as the above says, you have to be captured. Surely people can avoid that. They can! This is how the game distinguishes between those who are engaging with the game and those just trying to make a nuisance of themselves. If you have planned out the kill, thought about your actions, you are much less likely to be caught. You are also not going to be camping the persons body because who wants to be stood next to their crime when the victims family appears to enact justice!
Hopefully with thought out murder costing characters little, and griefing hitting the players wallet far harder than the victims we will see a balance. A world where we are still at risk from other players, but we are only going to get to sulk about them because they played the game too well!