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robocpf1

[Proposal] Acceptable PvP, Multiplayer Etiquette, and "Winning" Rules

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I'd like to get people on the same page as far as "acceptable PVP" and multiplayer etiquette because I think these are important topics for Stellaris and other multiplayer grand strategy games.

Part of the reason I love GOTR players so much is because we like playing together and everyone wants to make sure people are having fun, nobody wants to necessarily exclude anyone - but occasionally, it can be difficult to balance that with the need to actually progress in a game. Ultimately, in these games, somebody does have to WIN, and players want to get to the "end game" instead of playing only the first 1/3 or 2/3 of the game.

It can be frustrating for players that weren't involved in the game during the initial setup stage as well, because once you're in a grand strategy game, nobody wants to stop playing it to start over or start 10 versions of the same game with different people in them just to include everyone, at the expense of the original players. Everyone should be able to have fun.

So, these things in mind, I propose a few different rules that I would like to discuss. The one thing that ties all of these proposals together is one simple edict: "Keep all human players in the game."

(1) "Acceptable PvP" - GOTR is full of friends and we don't like killing each other in long-form games. Why? Because then that player is out and they don't get to play any more. For longer grand strategy games, eliminating a player can mean that person is "out" for hours upon hours of gameplay. As such, we don't like eliminating people - but sometimes it's necessary for the game to progress. My proposal: An agreement between all players that says that PvP is acceptable and inevitable, but that the end result will not be eliminating someone from the game. In Stellaris, for instance, you can make people your vassals, you can force them to cede certain systems, you can essentially beat them into submission and take some of their stuff without eliminating the human player from the game. (To my knowledge, elimination only happens once a human player has zero colonies left under their control.) That's the kind of behavior I'd like to advance. You might have to work harder to rebuild, but you'll be able to rebuild instead of being "out."

(2) "Always Rescue Humans" - If at any point there is a serious threat to a human player, all other human players should do everything in their power to prevent their elimination from the game. For instance, in Stellaris, one of the end-game crises is a big zerg rush from outside the galaxy - and depending on where your empire is placed, the zerg rush might spawn right on top of you, or way far away. My proposal: an agreement between all players that if any human player is in danger of being eliminated, all other human players will attempt to rescue them. You may need to make some agreements among yourselves, such as the "in need of rescue" player giving materials or payment to the rescuers, but the end result is that all human players remain in the game.

(3) "Play to Win" - The goal of a big multi-player game is that we reach the end-game and that somebody, hopefully, wins the game. Therefore, everyone should enter the game with a particular mindset that they would like to eventually win the game (or form an alliance of winners if necessary). If someone is getting too big, you're allowed to band together against them - if someone is reeling from a loss or disadvantage, they probably aren't a big threat and you should focus on someone else. Fair play and "play to win" can be difficult to balance, but again, our goal is "keep all human players in the game" and with that in mind, it's easier.

(4) "Hey, I don't know you" - I'm going to call this the Buddahx rule because it's a great example of good multiplayer play. If you've played a game of Stellaris with Buddahx, you'll have heard the phrase "I don't know you" when you ask him for star charts, or border access, or any information at all. Players should enter these games with the knowledge that this is a perfectly acceptable position to take - again, we're playing to win. You're 100% within your rights to deny an advantage to the other players as long as you're following the other rules. That said, other players may be perfectly fine with discussing plans and positions in the open, and "table talk" is acceptable - you don't have to participate, and you don't have to share, and if you enter a multiplayer game you need to be aware that there are both kinds of players - the "share everything" player, and the "I don't know you" player.

(5) "Hot-joining" - Stellaris allows Hot-joining, and it's pretty good at it. Unlike some other games, human players can just jump in mid-game as one of the computers if they wish. This means that you may start a game with five human players and an hour later two more have joined. This is the grand etiquette question: we want to allow those other "late joiners" to play, but with differing time zones and work schedules, who decides when we can play again? Are the two late-joiners now full players and we shouldn't play without all present? Or as long as we have the original five, can we continue? I'd like some feedback and discussion on this, because I have no idea how to handle it. We want to encourage people to play together, but we also don't want to penalize people for continuing to play the game they started. As more and more people join a game, we could have upwards of 10 or 12 human players, and that makes it very, very difficult to synchronize schedules. Should we designate the starting players as "core players" that the game can't move without (or at least without them okaying it)? When does a late-joiner become a core player? Let's say a player only missed the first 30 minutes but has been playing the game with everyone else for 10+ hours, who is a "core player" at that point? This is the hardest question, I think.

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These are some excellent points Robo and I hope we can implement them. When it comes to hot-joining personally for me if I hot-join with you guys I see myself as a secondary character. I am there for the enjoyment of myself and others but the core people will get their way before I do. This is fine to me and probably some other people who may get in the same situation. I do also think we should put a cap after a certain amount of time where no one else can join unless it is taking over another player who has to leave at the discretion of the host.

Also one thing i just noticed is a lack of a point about the host. In my personal views the host is the effective leader of the group and makes sure everything goes well. If there is a debate on rules on if someone can join the final say should be the host. These of course are my views and maybe we can figure out a good alternative if this is a difference.   

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Since Stellaris allows hot joining and switching empires, I don't think elimination of a player's empire is necessarily a bad thing since you can just switch to another empire when that happens. One and Two can be pretty much summed up as "Don't be a dick."

 

I think five is pretty simple actually, set a time for play that at least somewhat fits peoples schedules and play the game then whether everyone is there or not. The AI should do a pretty decent job of managing the empires of those not present.

Edited by Ivandrov
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I'd be OK allowing the "core players" that started the game to dictate the schedule when the game is started, or by consensus once the game has begun. If you want to hot join, you should either be OK with the schedule proposed at the outset or OK with the AI running your empire when you can't make it. 

I think the "core players" should be those who started the game, but moving forward, I think new game starts should be announced ahead of time on the forum. Otherwise, additional players never have a chance to become part of that core group.

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I'd mostly agree with what has been said above, on late joiners basically being human controlled NPC's, if you ever decide to return to Crusader Kings II :P (since I don't have Stellaris yet).

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I was thinking a lot last nice after our little play session in Stellaris and I was perplexed by an event I caused.  I guaranteed independence of another empire to the great dismay of Ghandi. I personally did not mean for that to happen. I did it for personal gains which then they became my new space China. Was I being a dick or playing to win? The reason why I ask this because this type of thing can happen in a lot of different games so I think we should create a precedent for this event.  

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1 hour ago, TankerRed101 said:

I was thinking a lot last nice after our little play session in Stellaris and I was perplexed by an event I caused.  I guaranteed independence of another empire to the great dismay of Ghandi. I personally did not mean for that to happen. I did it for personal gains which then they became my new space China. Was I being a dick or playing to win? The reason why I ask this because this type of thing can happen in a lot of different games so I think we should create a precedent for this event.  

That's just normal play to me. It doesn't really take him out of the game. 

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1 hour ago, TankerRed101 said:

I was thinking a lot last nice after our little play session in Stellaris and I was perplexed by an event I caused.  I guaranteed independence of another empire to the great dismay of Ghandi. I personally did not mean for that to happen. I did it for personal gains which then they became my new space China. Was I being a dick or playing to win? The reason why I ask this because this type of thing can happen in a lot of different games so I think we should create a precedent for this event.  

I think what you did was fine and should even be encouraged. There was no agreement at the time to work together against the space penguins, the northern humans had been kind of standoffish against those of us south of the galactic core ("I don't know you!") and frankly Robo, Gigity and I put you in a weird position with that attack that you did a great job thwarting by releasing your vassal. 

I'm all for occasionally making "wildcard" move that shakes things up. That kind of thing is what keeps these games interesting. I don't want to automatically band together with all human players to eradicate the CPU players, because it rapidly becomes a game of "build the ships, invade the AI, kill all non-humans, win the game" and that just doesn't do it for me. I like this game a lot, but I find it ten times as fun in multiplayer because people are unpredictable. I'd much rather play a dynamic game where I'm guessing people's next moves.

Personally, I think that due to the hot join ability, warring between humans (and the associated alliances and backstabbing) should be encouraged. If you get completely wiped out, you can come back in under a different empire who may or may not be in a better position to take revenge. One alliance of people continually ganging up on a single person is Not Fun and Not Cool in my book (borderline harassment), but I think that in the grand scheme of things you have to know that if you play a 4X game with other people online, eventually someone's going to come in and wreck your stuff!

I am on board with the human players dropping whatever grudges they may have when an endgame crisis (robot rebellion/zerg/unbidden) arises, personally I'd resume hostilities once the threat is gone. Maybe the fight to purge the galaxy of whatever threat left my neighbor vulnerable and I really want that Betharian stone!

I guess what I'm trying to say is play to your Ethos that you selected (or inherited) when the game starts. If you're a fanatic militarist xenophobe, play like one!

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I'm hearing a general consensus that player-empire elimination is okay as long as they can come back and hotjoin as another empire.

Anyone else for or against this concept?

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On #5

If a game is not scheduled, I would even argue that there are no 'core players'. If we want a consistent game, we need to schedule a regular time every day/week/time increment where we play for X hours.

 

Other than that, I generally agree with most of this, but mainly as a set of guidelines rather than some kind of absolute binding agreement.

Despite being one of the more antagonistic/Machiavellian players, I generally don't like eliminating players outright in almost any game... although if other players want to do that, they should have the option if they think they are prepared to deal with the consequences in terms of in-game mechanics and player reactions.

I think you guys are taking the whole 'You can hotjoin if you die so its fine' thing too easily though. Sure you can, but to a new, most likely weaker space-race that you don't really have any connection with up until that point. And god-forbid people take grudges across from their old empire into their new empire AKA meta-revenge.

Edited by garglemonger
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1 hour ago, garglemonger said:

 

I think you guys are taking the whole 'You can hotjoin if you die so its fine' thing too easily though. Sure you can, but to a new, most likely weaker space-race that you don't really have any connection with up until that point. And god-forbid people take grudges across from their old empire into their new empire AKA meta-revenge.

I tend to agree. We spend a lot of time crafting the empire we want to play.

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What's wrong with meta-revenge? That would mimic the way AI behave after an empire is swallowed by another. They get angry and start to band up.

Also, obviously, the new empire you choose will have a sub optimal pallet of options chosen for you and there might not be a connection. But, I don't think that warrants changing anything about how a game of Multiplayer in Stellaris would be normally played. Losing your empire doesn't just happen, there is always a failure or series of failures that is the cause.

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