During my time as a server admin of one of the nwn2 servers, I came up with an idea of DDES - Dialog Driven Experience Source system. It was largely accepted by the playerbase and successfully implemented so I thought why not share it with the community.
The main idea behind DDES is to provide an additional source of XP for non-combat characters (meaning those without good builds that spend most of the time roleplaying and not grind monsters) and at the same time a way to raise player engagement. In reality of course everyone can benefit from it.
The two main elements of this system are NPCs and dialogs. An NPC is linked with a dialog that ends with a skill check. If the player's char passes the check a reward is given. Regardless of the check outcome, the next attempt with the given NPC is possible after a specified time interval, like next day, and a given PC can make only X number of overall attempts with NPCs per day. Let me show you an example.
You approach an NPC named “Crying Woman” and start conversation (text in green is the selected dialog option)
- CW: Oh, I lost my husband in a war. I’m so sad.
1. I’m sorry to hear that! Let me tell you a story to cheer you up (Perform skill check)!
2. I’m sorry to hear that. I wish you luck and good day (end dialog)
- CW: You would? Thank you!
1. Once upon a time… (DC: 15)
2. Long ago… (DC:20)
3. Have you heard off… (DC:30)
4. Sorry, I have to go now. Bye. (end dialog)
- CW: (Skill check passed)
Oh that’s wonderful! Here, have this for cheering me up.
1. No need of that, it was my pleasure (XP reward: 50) (end dialog)
2. Thank you! (XP reward: 30, gold reward: 20). (end dialog)
- CW: (skill check failed)
That was awful! Please, go away. (end dialog)
I hope you got the idea. This is just one NPC but to make it work it would be necessary to create at least as many NPCs and dialogs as there are skills and deploy them throughout the server module. However, once it's done it will be faster and easier to expand the system afterwards.
To summarize, here are the pros and cons of this system. At least those I came up with.
Players will be driven to log in regularly to take time to reach NPCs and earn reward. That could create opportunities for them to roleplay, socialize and/or organize grinds.
Dialogs can be simple and offer just one type of reward but they can be easily expanded to become deep and complex, containing multiple checks and offer different types of rewards, like gold, XP or even items.
- Easy to implement.
Creating dialogs, adding skill checks and giving rewards is already scripted in the toolset. Basically any NPC can be utilized and placed anywhere. The additional work to do is simple scripting regarding time intervals and attempt limits I mentioned above and establishing rules. Like what should be the daily NPC limit, how much gold can be rewarded etc. Once it's done the rest is just writing dialogs which can be done by non-technical people.
Each time a player would need to go to the same place, talk to the same NPC and follow the same dialog, over and over. In time this may become boring and discouraging. Unless the dialogs and NPCs are regularly replaced or NPCs at least relocated. On the other hand, mixing everything from time to time may be frustrating. It's like when your local shop reorganized the shelves again and you can't find what you were looking for at the usual place.
- Potential exploits.
Players can easily buff their skills with potions and spells which will allow them to pass high DC checks which they would otherwise fail. I guess it could me mitigated in some way.
Because almost everything is done manually, implementing changes will be time consuming. Especially when a bug is found and every dialog needs to be corrected manually.
What do you think? Opinions, comments? It's just an idea you know, I'm not saying it shouldl or must fit BGTSCC.