10 in 10 – Detectives

by Azaroth | December 6th, 2010

Since the very beginning of any discussion regarding the second coming of IPY, I’ve stated clearly that this is meant as another visit to the year 2000.

No, you don’t log in at the “Sweet Dreams 2000!” or sell gems at “Premier Gems 2000!”. “IPY 2000!” would be a fantastic, if confusing, shard name though. But no.

Of course, I’m not stopping you from running out and grabbing a pair of vans, maybe a fubu jersey and a barbwire tattoo around your manly 10 1/2 inch pythons in preparation for this server.

The point of the development was obviously revisiting 1999, or the time period right before UO:Renaissance. We want to go back and do it again.

UO, in 1999, I think we can all agree had some major issues. That’s why you got Trammel, why you got AOS, etc. You may not agree with these particular solutions or the direction of these expansion packs, but they weren’t simply born from a “Hey wouldn’t this be cool?!?!” over takeout Chinese. There were genuine issues with the game that the people at EA were attempting to address.

If IPY 1 was 1999, IPY 2 is 2000. Instead of UO:Renaissance, we’re going ahead and developing our own solutions to problems. It’s kind of like one of those alternate timeline movies. You know, one of the good ones. Nothing with Jerry O’Connell or John Leguizamo.

One thing we’ll avoid, of course, is Trammel. However, what some people need to come to understand is that we’re not avoiding Trammel just to relive the mistakes of the past (again). We’re avoiding Trammel by adding alternate (hopefully better) solutions to the problems that caused Trammel.

Detectives is an interesting addition that is designed to be a way for non-PvPers to aid in policing the world, essentially acting as a failsafe in our system because of the way that Paladins relies on PvPers effectively and diligently tracking down and killing murderers by hand.

Unfortunately we can’t put our faith in that happening just enough all of the time. People might lose interest in the rewards, the rewards might not be enough to compensate for the gap in player skill (and they’re not designed to bridge MASSIVE gaps) in enough of the cases, having all of these rewards destroyed when you die might prevent Paladins from trying again large amounts of murderers may discourage the anti-PKs… any number of factors may interfere with the effectiveness of the system. It’s difficult to predict and even harder to rely solely on. In fact, any solution that relies on the actions of players themselves is going to be hard for anyone to put their faith in totally in the first place.

Instead of cranking up the power of Paladin rewards endlessly to balance the situation by still relying on the same group of (then potentially diminishing) players, it’d be better to involve another type.

I’ve harped enough to this point on how I’d rather use players instead of tacked on restrictions to solve the problems that led to UO:R, Trammel, and beyond. This is, of course, again the direction with the Detectives system.

The context is of course, again, moving back to 1999 and attempting to address glaring problems without removing player freedoms and looking to solutions like Trammel. Tricky business, sure. Maybe it won’t work. But we’re giving it a shot because the alternatives suck and we’d all really like to find a strong, long term viable and sustainable classic UO ruleset.

To preface this I’d like to comment that currently, Detectives has no interaction with thievery. I had something (something kinda neat, I think) all drawn up, but in an effort to launch sooner (and, I suppose, leave thieves alone for the time being unless they were to get out of control), we’re putting this portion of the system on the backburner. It was actually quite interesting and really expanded on the playstyle of the Detective, however those that would like to play thieves (especially the ones that stay in one spot – like bank thieves) would probably hate it.

This will of course serve as our Forum Poll this week.

Currently, we’ve added an NPC Detectives guild, allowing players to join and hunt down murderers in a totally non-combat capacity. Utilizing skills such as Detect Hidden and Forensic Intelligence, players can seek out corpses, gather and collect clues, and combine them to complete murder reports.

To begin your hunt, you can either visually locate the corpse of a murdered player or use the Detect Hidden skill on the ground in any location. By skill, a varying radius will be searched, uncovering bloody footprints leading to the scene of the crime.

From there, evidence is collected using Forensic Intelligence. One piece of evidence can be (potentially, depending on skill) uncovered from a single crime scene, with a minimum of three (from the same murderer) being required to put together a completed crime report for turning in to the Detective Guildmaster. The evidence gathered will be of varying type and quality, with three main types that need to be found.

A good, strong, conclusive murder report has a chance to send NPC bounty hunters after the murderer being investigated. These NPCs are of varying strength and quantity, and while NPCs aren’t always particularly hard to escape from… as a murderer, you’ll want to be careful lest you end up in Yew Jail (with your loot being delivered directly into the hands of the detective that caught you).

If caught, you’ll find yourself sitting in Yew Jail.

But never fear – several opportunities to escape present themselves to players who are alert and attentive. Also, currently theives, beggars, lockpickers and tinkers have drastically improved possibilities of escape. Guards can potentially be bribed, NPCs may come in offering methods to escape for those in jail with specific skills, items can be uncovered inside the cell for use in escaping. Tinkers can be given and find items to make a bomb, for instance – very significantly reducing the time in jail for a murderer willing to use a non-traditional template.

The goal here is, of course, to encourage these non-traditional (7XGM PVP) templates in an effort to further reduce the power gap between the average red and the average blue player. Those murderers caught while employing a less combat-ready template will enjoy potentially very significantly reduced stays in the Yew Jail.

How long does a murderer spend in jail? Are we talking minutes, hours, days, weeks?

This is a soft spot where balancing can happen. We can adjust this relative to what our Red Problem looks like, hopefully helping to balance the situation out. At the moment, it is not set as a particularly long penalty.

So we hope some blues are encouraged to try out the Detectives system, we hope the reds appreciate that we’d like to provide a balanced and sustainable world for everyone to participate in without removing freedoms, and we hope that you all enjoy everything we’re doing with IPY 2.

Next week, we may very well be looking at a guest 10 in 10… stay tuned!

4 Responses to “10 in 10 – Detectives”

  1. I really like the bit at the end about “a sweet spot” hehe.

    SUPREME COURT! Private Eye guilds incoming…

  2. I’m amazed how many people want Detectives to pwn thieves.

  3. This will certainly make a red think twice about afking in his tower after pking someone.

  4. Darkwalker-LoP says:

    What if a pet finishes off a murderer’s kill? Does Detectives work against animal trainers?

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International man of mystery, jetsetting billionaire playboy, world renowned philanthropist and notorious double agent, Azaroth enjoys charitably running online games in his free time for the people he loves most - internet stalkers.