[Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

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Józef Taktyka
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[Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by Józef Taktyka »

Hi!

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.

- PC:

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!

- PC:
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.

- PC:
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.

Pros:

- Engagement.

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.

- Scalability.

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.

Cons:

- Repetitive.

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.

- Management.

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. :)
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JustAnotherGuy
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by JustAnotherGuy »

I'm not against this idea myself, but I don't think it's necessary, either. We already have RP XP, and it's actually easier (imo) already to level via RP than it is to grind monsters.

To add to your cons, though, this would lessen the engagement of players with players, I think. If something like this were implemented, I think it would need to grant far less XP than RP does.
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Hullack
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by Hullack »

On a related note it'd be super cool if there were dungeons that de-emphasized combat in lieu of skill-check challenges. Like a handful of planned combat encounters (rather than never-ending trigger-based spawns) but mostly navigating/surviving/exploring the dungeon via differing skills and abilities and xp rewards for doing so.

One of those things to throw on the wish-list where volunteer dev time is infinite and available on-tap.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by gedweyignasia »

Hullack wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:52 pm On a related note it'd be super cool if there were dungeons that de-emphasized combat in lieu of skill-check challenges.
I've tried to think of a few designs for this, but it's challenging. If you assume that players are going to use the game mechanics to maximize their return (in gold/items/XP) on time investment (this is generally a bad assumption, but it provides a worst-case scenario for how your content will be run), you have to either build in some very frustrating time-wasting mechanics or mix this with combat in order to balance it with our other content.

Personally, not a fan of wasting players' time, so I was looking at mixing it with combat. The problem there is that you have to "gate" combat-oriented content with these RP skill check restrictions, which will most likely lead to players just avoiding the area. (For instance, the Search check to enter Ulcaster Ruins means most players won't bother with it, even if they are able to bypass the puzzles quickly to get to the Shadow Ruins.) You can reason for yourself how it has to be a gate with combat in between in order to prevent players from just running a quick circuit to collect their rewards on the RP skill.

Alternatively, if you just provide the benefit of bypassing combat, players will generally treat this as useless (although it'll sometimes be appreciated, for instance if it provides a time-saving shortcut) because they'd rather kill things and get more gold/items/XP. Even if you offer XP for taking the non-combat approach (for instance, an Escape Artist check to squeeze down a side tunnel), they'll have an incentive to kill things, then take your non-combat approach for the XP.

The best idea I've had so far is to have a dungeon where players have to do a certain number of tasks to summon a boss, some of which might be combat tasks, some of which might be RP skills. The boss that spawns and has to be defeated is then randomly either something they can kill with combat or something they have to resolve with a skill check like Diplomacy. (You persuade the spirits that you mean them no harm and have only come for the treasure, otherwise they teleport you out and take the treasure for themselves or some such.) Of course, you'd still have to give some kind of reward if players fail the skill check, or they'll be psychologically dissatisfied in a way they generally aren't when they fail combat.

This would take some serious scripting and just didn't feel like a very compelling design, so I'm working on something that relies on players to both create and solve the challenges instead. (More talk about this when it's close to release.) RP skills are something I'm considering coming back to afterwards, especially if anyone can help solve the design challenges.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by DM Ghost »

Personally, i think any significant amount of xp outside of rp xp should require a certain amount of mortal risk.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by Józef Taktyka »

DM Ghost wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 3:44 am Personally, i think any significant amount of xp outside of rp xp should require a certain amount of mortal risk.
I agree. That's why DDES is supposed to offer only small rewards for the time spent to reach NPC and pass the check. Most of the NPCs are placed in urban areas, which most of the players visit from time to time. So for example since you're already in the city, you can talk to the NPCs on your way to e.g. a shop. That's the idea.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by DM Ghost »

Well, we do already have several repeatable non-combat quests (in BG, Beregost and Nashkel), amounting up to probably around 2000 xp or so per week.

I don't want to come off as sounding like I disapprove of the creativity here, but I am one of those people who think leveling is already very, very quick. The RP XP amount you get is actually quite high. And so if we introduced more XP in another system, it would (in my mind) have to be reduced somewhere else to compensate. In this case, it seems that would be RP XP. And personally I'd rather encourage RP over static NPC interaction.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by DaloLorn »

If this were implemented, and if we slashed XP somewhere else to compensate, I think I'd prefer slashing quest XP over RP XP. These are sort of like micro-quests, anyway.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by Planehopper »

I think that other avenues of gaining XP and/or gold are important and relevant in a persistent world. Systems like fishing, foraging, falconry (soon), and eventually other non-combat systems such as trade systems,, some sort of crafting, etc will be implemented that will/may provide XP and/or gold gain opportunities.

If that game design is determined to make total leveling/ looting speed "too fast" (however that is determined when reality is game play time is wildly different across the board), then gains in gold and/or XP could be front loaded or come as diminishing gains at a very liberal level, or some other way of mitigating that concern such as tying alternative XP gains to a separate pool. Id rather not just say no because it isn't what I want personally. Healthy server development should continue to consider lots of game play experiences, so long as they are RP driven.

That said I am not sure a strictly conversation-based system offers that level of RP drive, though perhaps we could find a way to improve upon that.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by Gnomocratic »

cham here.
I think this is the wrong way to go about it.

Instead of adding more ways to gain experience at a faster rate, you could add ways to make gaining more experience more enjoyable.


My take on what BGTSCC needs the most in that regard is to think of experience gain as a reward for personally challenging feats (personally challenging to the character) and not so much accomplishments. So basically triggering experience awards for class centric tasks.

Trigger new experience gains or enhanced experience ticks for:
wizards learning new spells of their specialization school
clerics for resting/praying in specific circumstances or using spells that are domain/deity relevant
Paladins for killing strong evil monsters
fighters for defeating multiple enemies in a short time span
barbarians for defeating enemies while taking a lot of damage
druids for being attacked by natural creatures and not defeating them

you can think of hundreds of these, just small insular scripts each, give them cooldowns or make them small gains, but make them cater to the class lore

probably best to start super simple and add nuance or depth as you go along, maybe have the same triggers for barbarians, fighters, swashbucklers and groups of similar classes, specialize as you go along


that said I hope crafting doesn't reward gold or experience per se, if anything it should actually use these counters as resources and be a drain on them, this is the DND way in general terms
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by Planehopper »

Gnomocratic wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 11:45 am that said I hope crafting doesn't reward gold or experience per se, if anything it should actually use these counters as resources and be a drain on them, this is the DND way in general terms
Those are solid ideas - I like them.

Similar things like rewarding XP for priests praying at certain times at certain places could give more thematic non-combat alternatives and also create a draw to an area. Other groups of classes could be given other similar opportunities.

The bit about crafting - when I said "some sorts" - I think it depends on what is crafted. If its smithing, tailoring, sculpting, etc.. or other mundane creation crafting I think XP rewards are appropriate for creating certain materials.

For enchanting, or crafting of magical goods, I think the consensus has indeed been to have a gold and/or XP cost to create them.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by Gnomocratic »

You can basically ask the DM team or anyone that cares about FR lore what makes X class character be X class character on a daily basis, and make simple exp tick trigger scripts based on those things. Basically diversifying chat RP EXP to other matters and promoting setting appropriate conduct in gameplay
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by JustAnotherGuy »

I hadn't thought of the idea of rewarding xp essentially for a class acting like their class. I like the idea. The aforementioned clerics visiting/praying at a shrine type of thing. We already have something implemented that would work for this, even. We have the text that pops up when you visit a location that offers a small bit of xp. We could do the same thing at shrines (or other locations) that do a deity check before giving the xp. So daily visits to a toon's place of worship could be rewarding.

Something I'd like to see myself, too, is a system that encourages that type of behavior outside of XP gains. Just spitballing, but perhaps a "permanent" (until rest/reset) buff of some kind for visiting your deity's shrine. Like +4 to your casting DC stat, or something. It seems kind of small, but could free up a spell slot for some casters if they do that.
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Re: [Idea] Dialog Driven Experience Source (DDES).

Unread post by Kitunenotsume »

Off the top of my head, the Kobold Ruins, first floor, has a location in the Kobold Chief's room, where a Knowledge check (Kn: Local or Kn: History, I think) sometimes occurs at low levels with an accompanied description of the archetecture and grants a bit of XP with the lore.

Depositing an offering is currently an option at altars (for the mere fee of 10 GP) and offers a variety of favor buffs that can last a while (sometimes I get stoneskin, other times Favor, often nothing though - but it can be retried).
Having a reliable boon at your deity's altar might encourage their use a bit more.
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